Brandon Ingram has been phenomenal thus far this season with many already expecting the New Orleans Pelicans to re-sign Ingram after the season.
Brandon Ingram appeared to be the most polished player that the New Orleans Pelicans received from the Los Angeles Lakers and he has proven that true thus far this season. Ingram has performed well beyond expectations and is a legitimate all-star thus far this season.
The 22-year-old forward is averaging 25.9 points, 7.4 rebounds and four assists per game. He is shooting 49.1 percent from the field and 40.9 percent from three-point land. He has emerged as the team’s primary scorer and has been lethal at that.
This had led many to expect the New Orleans Pelicans to extend him to a large contract after the season. Ingram is a restricted free agent and qualifies for a max five-year, $169 million contract (h/t Yahoo Sports). Even if the Pelicans do not look to offer Ingram the max, they would have to match any other deal that he signs to keep him on the roster.
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Ingram definitely should be part of the future and right now, it seems like not an issue of if he will get the max contract, but how soon he will sign it next summer. However, despite his great play thus far, he has not yet earned that max contract.
Prior to this season, most fans would have given a hard no if asked if Ingram deserved a max contract. Now, after just 15 games, the narrative has completely flipped, ignoring two important factors.
The first, and most important, is Ingram’s health. Ingram has already missed some time this season, although minimal, and has a past of dealing with injuries. He has not played more than 60 games since his rookie season in 2016.
His 2018 season had to be shut down early due to Deep Venous Thrombosis. While everything is okay now, the blood clots can return, and if they do, they will be more serious for Ingram and could potentially even end his career.
The chances of that happening are not all that likely, but they are more likely than it happening to any other random superstar.
The other thing is that Ingram simply has not had a big enough sample size to warrant a max contract. There is a lot of the season left to play and for all we know Ingram could take a huge step back and only average 18 points by the time the year is over.
The return of Zion Williamson will play a role in this. How will Ingram play when he is not the number one option? Will he still be worth that coveted max contract? These are questions we do not have the answer to… yet.
Let’s be clear: Ingram is on pace and is playing well enough to eventually prove that he deserves a max contract from the New Orleans Pelicans. However, as of right now, the answer is still no.