Brandon Ingram is a bucket... when he's on the court. He averaged 24.7 points a game last season for New Orleans, shooting 39% from 3. However, he missed about half the season with a bruised big toe, and some around New Orleans have been frustrated with his willingness to push to get back on the court when banged up.
Ingram is entering the fourth year of a five-year, $158.3 million contract, meaning he is extension eligible right now for up to three years and $147 million. However, Ingram and the Pelicans are going to wait until next summer to talk numbers, reports Christian Clark at the Times-Picayune.
That makes sense for both sides, and the report says there is no "anxiety" over the contract situation. In Ingram's case, waiting means he can sign a longer and more possibly lucrative extension next summer — a max for him next summer would be four years, roughly $221 million. That number would climb if Ingram were to make an All-NBA team and qualify for a supermax of 35% of the salary cap, although the last time Ingram played in 65 games in a season — the new qualifying threshold for postseason awards — was his rookie season.
Those injuries are part of the reason the Pelicans should want to wait. On paper they have a top-four playoff team and a team that's a threat for a deep postseason run, thanks to Zion Williamson and CJ McCollum paired with Ingram. In reality, Zion and Ingram can't stay on the court long enough for the Pelicans to see what they have. Also for New Orleans, there is the rise of Trey Murphy III, who plays a similar wing position to Ingram and is a better defender plus an improving scorer. The question of who is the future of the team on the wing comes into play.
Ingram also is not in a particularly strong bargaining position after a rough summer with Team USA. Coach Steve Kerr started Ingram through the tune-up games and the openers of the World Cup as a potential leading scorer from the wing, but Ingram struggled as an isolation scorer in Kerr's system, was not defending or rebounding well, and eventually got moved to the bench and replaced by Josh Hart. Ingram averaged 5.7 points a game and shot 27% from 3 through the World Cup.
All of this has both Ingram and the Pelicans waiting to talk about an extension next summer. Ingram is a bucket, he has a clear role in the NBA as an isolation scorer from the wing, but how much New Orleans wants to pay him for that role remains to be seen.