The Los Angeles Lakers are going to be a team to keep an eye on this offseason, as Magic Johnson has plenty of money to spend in free agency and plenty of trade chips to use as well. Already, the Lakers have been mentioned as potential landing spots for LeBron James, Paul George, and Kawhi Leonard. While all three landing in L.A. seems unlikely, the Lakers have a good chance of landing one of them.
Bleacher Report thinks that the Lakers should consider trading one of their talented young players this offseason. That young player would be Brandon Ingram, who has been considered their top trade chip over the last couple years.
“If they do need to move a key piece, Ingram makes the most sense. They’ll be able to get a better player or asset back for him, and as Ingram plays the same position as Leonard and James, he has the least value if one or both stars join the Lakers.”
Obviously, trading Ingram would all depend on having a commitment from one of the other star small forwards. He has yet to prove that he can be a star in the NBA, but did show signs of improvement and development last year.
During the 2017-18 season with the Lakers, Ingram ended up averaging 16.1 points per game to go along with 5.3 rebounds and 3.9 assists. He shot 47.0 percent from the floor overall and knocked down 39.0 percent of his three-point attempts. Those numbers show why Ingram’s trade value is at an all-time high right now.
Standing in at 6-foot-9 and 190 pounds, Ingram has received plenty of comparisons to Golden State Warriors superstar Kevin Durant. He has a very similar body style and has the same ability to handle the ball. If he can develop and improve his ball-handling and shooting ability over the next few years, Ingram has a chance to become a star.
Brandon Ingram Stats:— UNTOUCHABLE (@UntouchableSZN) June 24, 2018
Rookie: 19 year old
9.4 PPG/ 4.0 RPG/ 2.1 APG
FG 40% - 3pt FG 29%
2nd Season: 20 Year old
16.1 PPG/ 5.3 RPG/ 3.9 APG
FG 47% - 3pt FG 39%
3rd Year predictions? pic.twitter.com/IZXepPhsTF
At just 20-years-old, Ingram is one of the most intriguing players in the league. A team like San Antonio could develop him into a star under a coach like Gregg Popovich.
It will be interesting to see what ends up happening this offseason with the Lakers. Rumors have been swirling that James is leaning toward remaining with the Cleveland Cavaliers and George will likely return to Oklahoma City. That would leave Leonard as the best option, but the Spurs have not shown a willingness to trade him to a Western Conference team.
Perhaps keeping Ingram for another season to see how he develops with another season would be the best course of action for the Lakers. They could then look to free agency next offseason if things don’t work out.
Expect to hear a lot of rumors surrounding the Lakers this offseason. Johnson and company are hoping to take the Lakers back to contention in the near future, but trading Ingram might not be the best move at this point in time.