NOVEMBER 30: Ingram has officially signed his new max contract with the Pelicans, the team announced today (via Twitter).
NOVEMBER 24: The top restricted free agent of 2020 is officially off the board, as the Pelicans and forward Brandon Ingram have reached an agreement on a five-year, maximum-salary contract, agents Jeff Schwartz and Jordan Gertler tell ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (Twitter link). The deal will be worth $158.25MM over five seasons.
Ingram, who was ranked No. 2 on our list of 2020’s top free agents, figures to sign the biggest free agent contract of the ’20 offseason, unless Anthony Davis opts for a long-term deal with the Lakers.
After being traded from Los Angeles to New Orleans as part of the package for Davis in 2019, Ingram – who was coming off a blood clot issue that prematurely ended his 2018/19 season – turned down a “more modest” extension offer from the Pelicans, per Wojnarowski (Twitter link).
Ingram’s bet on himself paid off in a big way, as he morphed into the Pelicans’ go-to scorer in 2019/20, averaging 23.8 PPG, 6.1 RPG, and 4.2 APG with a .463/.391/851 shooting line in 62 games (33.9 MPG). The 23-year-old also made an All-Star team for the first time in his career, setting himself up for a maximum-salary deal with New Orleans.
Although Ingram and the Pelicans took a few days to formally reach an agreement, this outcome was always expected — New Orleans would have matched any offer sheet the 6’7″ forward signed, so it made sense for the two sides to negotiate directly and take their time to get something done.
Ingram, whose new contract will run through 2025, represents one of the cornerstone pieces in the Pelicans’ rebuild, alongside Zion Williamson. A young core that also includes Lonzo Ball, Jaxson Hayes, Kira Lewis Jr., and Nickeil Alexander-Walker will be complemented in 2020/21 by newly-acquired veterans Steven Adams and Eric Bledsoe, as well as sharpshooter J.J. Redick.
With Ingram back under contract, the Pelicans’ major offseason moves should be complete. The team has a tiny of bit of breathing room below the tax line and doesn’t plan to fill its 15th roster spot with another guaranteed contract for now, per Will Guillory of The Athletic.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.