Eastern Conference general manager says Lakers should bring back Brandon Ingram

Many people around the NBA believe that if the Los Angeles Lakers are to become true championship contenders again anytime soon, they need to pull off a trade for a third All-Star-level player this offseason.

A lot of that talk has surrounded bringing in a game-changing ball-handling guard such as Donovan Mitchell or Trae Young. Such a player would take plenty of pressure off LeBron James as he approaches his 40th birthday and tries to manage the tremendous amount of mileage on his body.

But another possible route for Los Angeles to take is to upgrade at the wing or forward position instead. In fact, one Eastern Conference executive seems to think trading for the New Orleans PelicansBrandon Ingram would get the job done.

Via Heavy Sports:

“It’s an idea, if they’re willing to take the chance,” the East GM said. “Brandon as a third option with LeBron and Anthony Davis, it certainly makes them better, it gets them back to being a contender, or at least in that orbit.”

Ingram was the No. 2 pick in the 2016 draft by the Lakers. After playing his first three seasons with them and showing some real promise, he was sent packing to New Orleans in the 2019 trade that brought them Davis.

Since then, he has averaged 23.1 points a game while making one All-Star team. However, he has been injury-prone, as he has appeared in just 287 games over the last five seasons.

In addition, his iso-heavy playing style would likely be an awkward fit around James and Davis. Being the third star on a James-led team means making lots of sacrifices to accommodate James, which includes giving up plenty of opportunities to score one-on-one.

On the other hand, Ingram’s ability to score could add some major juice to L.A.’s offense if it is able to properly integrate him.

“You keep him healthy, you’re careful with him, and he can carry you through. He is still young (Ingram is 26) … He is a wildcard. But we saw him, he played 30 minutes against Washington and put up 40 points. He did that twice (also against Toronto). When he is right, he is a devastating scorer,” one Western Conference exec said.

Ingram’s flaws may mean the Lakers could get him at a lower price compared to what they would have to give up for Young or Mitchell.

“Anyone who trades for Ingram, you’re not going to have to give up a full star package because he gets hurt a lot and because you’ve got to pay him,” the GM said. “That’s why I think the Lakers are on the list, where he might wind up. Because he’s going to have to go somewhere where they can pay him.”

Ingram has one year left on his current contract at about $36 million. If the Lakers were to get him, they would have to extend him past that point, and it is a fair question whether they’d want to pay as much as $50 million a year to keep him.

Story originally appeared on LeBron Wire