Brandon Ingram is the future face of the Los Angeles Lakers and he is one of the brightest young players in the NBA. Ingram is also the only Lakers player that remains untouchable, according to team president Magic Johnson in an interview. The statement by Johnson created a lot of Lakers rumors regarding the future of D’Angelo Russell.
The Lakers have a really bright future with players like Ingram, Russell and the future second overall pick in this year’s NBA Draft. Johnson is new to his job, as well as general manager Rob Pelinka, but they are looking to make the right moves this summer to help the Lakers improve next season.
In a recent interview with ESPN, Johnson revealed that Brandon Ingram is the only player that he won’t trade even if a great offer comes along. The five-time NBA champion added that the Lakers are very happy with Ingram and his potential. Ingram was drafted second overall by the Lakers in last year’s draft.
“I would say probably the only player that we would say, hey, we would probably not move is Brandon Ingram. I think that we’re excited about Brandon, his length, his size, his agility, his athleticism. And then when you think about, you know, he was a baby coming in, in his first year last season and we see that he really has a high ceiling and we’re excited about what he can possibly turn into.”
Brandon Ingram had a good rookie season as he averaged 9.4 points, 4.0 rebounds, and 2.1 assists in just 28.8 minutes per game. The main concern for Ingram coming in was his 190-pound frame but he proved that he can hang with the best players in the world. Brandon is expected to gain more muscle this summer and improve his overall skills.
On the other hand, the future of D’Angelo Russell is up in the air because of the comments made by Magic Johnson. The Lakers front office has made it clear that Brandon Ingram the future of the franchise and the team might use Russell as trade bait to acquire an All-Star like Jimmy Butler or even Paul George.
In the same interview with ESPN (h/t SB Nation), Johnson wants Russell to become a better leader and improve his decision making. He also noted that he wants Russell to improve everything in his arsenal and become a better overall player. Russell is known for his scoring but he has to show that he can also play defense and distribute the ball better.
“D’Angelo, I just want him to make better decisions and also be a better leader, or come into the leadership role, because we know he can score the basketball. Now you have to be a better defender, you have to be a guy who can lead his teammates and do a better job of that. We want him to also, just like all the other players, we want all of them to come back in great shape, world-class physical condition.”
Russell’s spot is endangered because of the impending arrival of Lonzo Ball, the rumored second overall pick in this year’s NBA Draft. Ball is a pass-first point guard and a game-changer that can team up with Ingram to turn the Lakers franchise around. Despite the comments made by Johnson, it seems like he is giving Russell one final chance before deciding his future.
However, a report by Jake Fischer of Sports Illustrated noted that multiple NBA teams have inquired about a potential D’Angelo Russell trade right after the Lakers got the second overall pick. The identity of the teams was not revealed but some of the teams that have been linked with Russell include the Philadelphia 76ers, Denver Nuggets, Indiana Pacers, and Chicago Bulls.
It should be noted that these are just purely speculative at this point and the Lakers could change their minds about Brandon Ingram and D’Angelo Russell, especially if they get blown away by a trade offer. Fans should also expect more Lakers rumors heading into the 2017 NBA Draft on June 22.
[Featured Image by Harry How/Getty Images]