In the absence of LeBron James, former second overall pick Brandon Ingram hasn’t exactly established himself as a number two option for the Los Angeles Lakers, but that reportedly hasn’t had much of an effect on his trade value around the NBA.
In an appearance on ESPN LA’s “The Sedano Show,” Shams Charania of The Athletic reported that teams are still interested in Ingram’s potential as a two-way player:
“Brandon Ingram, obviously he’s had a little bit of an up and down season. He missed some time with injury, the suspension earlier in the year, but still, I think, around the league he has a value as a prospect. A lot of teams still believe in him. He does still come up when teams inquire with the Lakers.”
This goes against the growing notion that the value of the Lakers’ young core has plummeted while James has been sidelined, specifically Ingram’s value. It also means Ingram will be one the more interesting names to watch as the Feb. 7 NBA trade deadline draws closer.
The Lakers have been fine this season, and despite the fact that there is still no definitive timetable for James’ return, they could sneak into the playoffs. However, it’s worth questioning whether or not just making the playoffs will be enough to satisfy James in his first year in Los Angeles.
If James decide he wants to play with a player that can help him win-now, Ingram is likely the first player they would consider shipping out. Not only do Ingram and James share the same natural position, but his fit alongside James has been clunky so far.
Per 36 minutes, Ingram is averaging 15.8 points per game on 44.7 percent shooting from the field when he shares the floor with James and 19.9 points per game on 47.9 percent shooting from the field when James is on the bench. It’s not as staggering as it was when the season started, but it’s enough to consider whether or not he should be in the team’s long-term plans.
That being said, the Lakers have made it pretty clear they don’t plan on trading any of their core young players unless they’re getting an All-Star caliber player in return. According to Charania, those players aren’t going to be available at the trade deadline this season.
It’s more likely the Lakers hold off on deciding what to do with Ingram until next summer, when Anthony Davis will “evaluate” his future with the New Orleans Pelicans. You can bet the Lakers are hoping the Pelicans are one of the teams that still believes in Ingram.
In the meantime, expect the Lakers told onto Ingram.