Los Angeles Lakers president of basketball operations Magic Johnson’s public proclamation that Brandon Ingram was the only untouchable player on the team apparently wasn’t hollow praise. According to Mark Medina of the Orange County Register, the Lakers “have maintained that second-year forward Brandon Ingram is not available” in any potential trades.
Medina’s report comes on the heels of an earlier on from Tania Ganguli of the Los Angeles Times, who wrote that the Lakers have both taken and made trade calls about the No. 2 pick in the 2017 NBA Draft. It would appear that whatever packages they did discuss did not involve Ingram, who was the No. 2 pick last season.
Ingram had what could be charitably described as an up-and-down rookie campaign, but he evidently showed enough flashes that the Lakers are committed to him going forward.
According to Medina, members of the Lakers front office aren’t even the only people intrigued by Ingram:
The Lakers have also fielded numerous trade inquiries in recent weeks that include their No. 2 pick. The Lakers have listened to calls, but they have maintained that second-year forward Brandon Ingram is not available. The Lakers have liked Ingram’s steady growth in his defense, shooting and aggressiveness as he strives to gain more muscle. Meanwhile, the Lakers have heard from prospects they would like playing with Ingram.
One of the players to let the Lakers know about that was presumably Kansas forward Josh Jackson, who told the media after his second private workout with the Lakers that he felt a pairing of himself and Ingram could be “really special.” The Lakers are reportedly “split” over whether to draft Jackson or UCLA guard Lonzo Ball.
The Lakers ranking Ingram so highly privately and publicly appears to be more than just an effort to boost the confidence of their young wing. All signs point to them truly believing he’s a big part of their future, and with all the behind-the-scenes information the team has access too that fans don’t, them feeling that way should get Lakers fans pumped about just how special Ingram might ultimately become.
Harrison Faigen is co-host of the Locked on Lakers podcast (subscribe here, or listen to us talk about Ingram’s fit with Jackson below), and you can follow him on Twitter at @hmfaigen.