New Orleans Pelicans to ‘aggressively explore’ Brandon Ingram trade, 3 potential landing spots


The New Orleans Pelicans lightly floated All-Star forward Zion Williamson in NBA trade rumors last offseason but a deal never materialized. One year later, the Pelicans are reportedly being a lot more aggressive in pursuing a Brandon Ingram trade this summer.

Ingram, age 26, was one of the central pieces coming back to New Orleans in the Anthony Davis trade with the Los Angeles Lakers. He emerged as an NA All-Star in 2020, earning the NBA Most Improved Player Award. By all accounts, the 6-foot-8 forward appeared to be a central figure in basketball’s future in New Orleans.

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  • Brandon Ingram stats (2023-’24): 20.8 PPG, 5.1 RG< 5.7 APG, 49.2% FG, 35.5% 3PT

However, things have spiraled out of control. While Ingram posted his highest Win Shares per 48 Minutes (0.117) over the last three seasons, there was friction with the Pelicans coaching staff. Furthermore, new Orleans reportedly saw enough that it has determined it doesn’t want to pursue a contract extension.

With both sides seemingly discontent with the current situation and Ingram free to leave the Pelicans in 2025 NBA free agency, it appears New Orleans is ready to move on from him first.

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According to NBA insider Marc Stein, the Pelicans plan to “aggressively explore” a trade to get Ingram out of New Orleans this offseason.

“Sure to be a popular topic in Chicago this coming week as front office executives, scouts, coaches and agents gather for the usual pre-draft frenzy of on-court drills, measurements, scrimmaging and interviews with prospective draftees: A growing belief leaguewide that Pelicans will aggressively explore the trade market for Brandon Ingram before next season.”

Marc Stein on the New Orleans Pelicans’ interest in a Brandon Ingram trade

Furthermore, per Stein, Pelicans president of baseball operations David Griffin has “all but promised” the team will be looking to make multiple trades this offseason, meaning Ingram might not be the only one traded.

Examining Brandon Ingram trade destinations

Ordinarily, All-Star players floated in NBA trade rumors are either available because they demanded a trade or their names are floated out as speculation with their team having minimal interest in a move. The Pelicans’ situation is unique, with New Orleans being the party most interested in making a deal happen.

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Because of the circumstances, it makes it highly likely that Ingram will be traded this summer and a few potential landing spots stand out.

  • Detroit Pistons: Losing the NBA Draft lottery for the second consecutive year with fewer than 18 wins should be the final reminder for the Detroit Pistons that something needs to change. Cade Cunningham needs a lot more help around him and while Ingram has his limitations, he would make the Pistons a lot better next season. Plus, Detroit has the money to extend him and it could float Jaden Ivey in trade talks with the Pelicans.
  • Philadelphia 76ers: The Philadelphia 76ers should be just as aggressive as the Detroit Pistons in pursuing a star player. Tyrese Maxey emerged as an outstanding player this season, but Joel Embiid’s knee injuries also served as a reminder that this window could slam shut at any moment. Ingram would provide the 76ers with the additional scoring they need, which could finally put Philadelphia over the hump in the NBA playoffs.
  • Cleveland Cavaliers: The NBA playoffs have told us two things about the Cleveland Cavaliers. First, it would be foolish to do anything other than extend Donovan Mitchell. Second, he can’t be the only go-to scorer in the starting lineup. A move like this would certainly be risky, considering Ingram is a free agent in 2025, but the Cavaliers owe it to the player Mitchell has become to go for it.

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