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Brandon Ingram calls Lonzo Ball a generational talent, hopes he returns to Pelicans

Few players in the NBA have had as wild a ride in the NBA as Lonzo Ball. Coincidentally, two of the players that can relate to him are teammates Brandon Ingram and Josh Hart.

The latter was in the same draft class as Ball and the former was drafted by the Lakers one year prior. The trio bonded during their time in Los Angeles before being dealt to New Orleans, a move that only strengthened their friendship.

Ball and Ingram, particularly, have grown close while with the Pelicans. After earning his max contract with New Orleans last season, Ingram took the chance on Monday to back his friend and teammate not just to the media, but to the Pelicans front office itself.

With Ball and Hart set for restricted free agency, Ingram campaigned for both to be brought back next season.

“I really hope those guys can be with us next year, of course,” Ingram said. “In my exit meeting, I talked a lot about those guys, especially Zo and how I think he’s a generational talent with his passing ability and the things that he sees on the basketball floor that nobody sees, his IQ, how he can manipulate the game and on the defensive end, his anticipation. Josh Hart, how he can knock down that three ball and on the defensive end, he can pretty much guard everybody one through three. That’s something special to have.

“I’m hoping those guys can be with us next year but I also hope those guys can make a lot of money and feed their family.”

Ingram and Ball have long had a tight friendship. Last season, the two shared a pregame ritual of working out together the night before road games. Each have stumped for the other in various situations in the past as well.

But Ingram making the case to keep Ball, given the commitment the franchise has made to him, carries more weight than any comments before. Whether they will lead to Ball remaining with the Pelicans, though, will be determined in the coming months.

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