Despite a slow start to the season, the LeBron James-led Los Angeles Lakers have not parted ways with any of their young core players, including former second overall draft pick Brandon Ingram. However, a recent report suggests that the Lakers considered trading the 21-year-old forward to the Minnesota Timberwolves in an attempt to acquire Jimmy Butler.
Earlier this week, ESPN’s Tim MacMahon appeared on Brian Windhorst and the Hoop Collective, where he discussed Ingram’s value as a Lakers starter, specifically whether he’d be better used alongside James or as a “trade chip” for Los Angeles to acquire a second superstar. As quoted by Lakers Nation, MacMahon said that he recalled Ingram being shopped around by the Lakers in “at least one trade,” including a deal with the Timberwolves that would have sent Butler to the Lakers.
“I’ll just go ahead and say it, that he was brought up in the Jimmy Butler stuff.”
After weeks of trade rumors and speculation, the Timberwolves traded Butler to the Philadelphia 76ers last month, receiving forwards Dario Saric and Robert Covington in return. The Lakers were only seldom mentioned as a potential trade destination for Butler, as teams such as the Miami Heat, Houston Rockets, and Milwaukee Bucks dominated the rumor mill ahead of Butler’s eventual trade to the 76ers, per an earlier report from Yahoo Sports.
According to Lakers Nation, Brandon Ingram was also rumored to be part of a trade package the Los Angeles Lakers was willing to send to the San Antonio Spurs in exchange for another once-disgruntled small forward, Kawhi Leonard. Likewise, the Spurs ended up finding another team to ship Leonard to, and ultimately sent him and Danny Green to the Toronto Raptors for DeMar DeRozan and Jakob Poeltl.
In addition to Jimmy Butler and Kawhi Leonard, Paul George of the Oklahoma City Thunder was a third superstar player whom the Lakers reportedly failed to acquire in a deal that would have involved Ingram, per Lakers Nation.
Now in his third year in the NBA, Brandon Ingram is averaging 15.8 points, 4.2 rebounds, and 2.3 assists per game for a Lakers team that currently has a record of 13-9 and is tied for sixth place in the Western Conference. However, Lakers Nation opined that Ingram has “failed to meet expectations” as the player whom team president Magic Johnson had hoped would benefit the most from LeBron James’s addition to the roster. Contrary to what Johnson had looked forward to, Ingram has been less productive playing alongside James than he has been with the four-time NBA MVP riding the bench, the publication added.