Some moves in the NBA are considered inevitable, but it is still exciting when it officially goes down. According to Lakers Nation, the Los Angeles Lakers signed Brandon Ingram. The second overall pick in the draft has finally put pen to paper. Ingram is also being bestowed the honor of taking over the locker that was previously owned by Kobe Bryant.
Eyebrows have been raised over the summer as Brandon Ingram has not been included as one of the many NBA rookies to officially sign a contract with his team. As is usual with sports fans, speculation was rampant.
There were those that believed that the delay in signing was because the Los Angeles Lakers were trying to find a blockbuster trade for Brandon Ingram. Just about every general manager in the NBA would be interested in someone that is talented as Ingram. He has the potential to be a generational player.
The #Lakers have officially signed forward Brandon Ingram.
— TWC SportsNet (@TWCSportsNet) August 23, 2016
In actuality, though, Los Angeles Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak more than likely delayed the signing of Brandon Ingram to keep his salary cap as flexible as possible in case other trade offers were to fall on his desk. Ingram is going to be a long-term core member of the Lakers.
With Brandon Ingram signed, it appears that none of the trade offers were good enough for Mitch Kupchak. He has a plethora of young talent on the Los Angeles Lakers roster. Kupchak was not going to make a trade just for the sake of making a trade.
For a while there, talks about acquiring DeMarcus Cousins from the Sacramento Kings were heavily rumored. The talented but disgruntled center showed a lot of enthusiasm when he represented the United States of America at the Olympics, bringing home a gold medal with the basketball team.
Even without DeMarcus Cousins on board, the Los Angeles Lakers should still be able to field an exciting team. The group will dazzle the audiences, but they could struggle to consistently win games at the beginning. The hope is that new head coach Luke Walton can groom them into winners soon.
Though the Los Angeles Lakers will not publicly state that they are expecting Brandon Ingram to be the centerpiece of the team, there are those that believe that he will take over as the franchise player. Jordan Clarkson, D’Angelo Russell, and Julius Randle are talented players, but Ingram has a higher ceiling.
Los Angeles Lakers management knows that they are one of the most scrutinized franchises in the NBA. They pay attention to the little details. The fact that they gave Kobe Bryant’s former locker to Brandon Ingram might not have been an unintentional thing. It could be a symbolic passing of the torch.
Another subtle passing of the torch would take place if Brandon Ingram were to win the starting small forward position for the Los Angeles Lakers. That is going to be a tough task because the team signed Luol Deng in free agency. The veteran forward is extremely reliable.
Although he spent most of his NBA career at the shooting guard position, Kobe Bryant transitioned over to the small forward position during his final season to accommodate the development of Jordan Clarkson and D’Angelo Russell, the backcourt of the future for the Los Angeles Lakers. Brandon Ingram would love to take over that spot from a legend.
To many, the contract signing of Brandon Ingram was simply a formality, and it may very well be. However, the big news is that the former Duke Blue Devils star is now officially on the road toward replacing Kobe Bryant.
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