Having signed his current five-year contract with the Pelicans during the 2020 offseason, Brandon Ingram became eligible for a veteran extension earlier this summer. However, multiple sources tell Christian Clark of NOLA.com that Ingram will wait until the 2024 offseason to explore a new deal with the team.
Ingram’s decision isn’t related to his desire to remain in New Orleans long-term — he’ll simply be eligible for a more lucrative extension next offseason than he is now, particularly if he makes an All-NBA team in 2023/24. Within the organization, there’s no “anxiety” about Ingram’s desire to hold off on contract talks until next summer, Clark notes.
Ingram will earn $33.8MM this coming season and a little over $36MM in 2024/25 before his current contract expires. He could sign a three-year extension this offseason that could be worth up to 30% of the ’25/26 cap. If we assume 10% salary cap increases for each of the next two seasons, that would work out to about $160MM.
If Ingram were to wait until next offseason to sign a new contract, his maximum extension would increase to a projected $221MM for four years (based on 10% annual cap increases). If he makes an All-NBA team and becomes eligible for a super-max contract, his maximum extension would jump to $334MM for five years (again, based on 10% cap increases).
There’s no guarantee that the Pelicans would be willing to make that substantial an offer when the time comes, but the fact that Ingram could lock in significantly more guaranteed money by waiting explains why he’s not rushing to sign an extension before the ’23/24 season begins. Once opening night arrives next month, Ingram will become ineligible to sign an extension until the start of the 2024 offseason.
An All-NBA season in 2023/24 is probably a long shot for a player who has made just one All-Star team through seven years in the league, but the fact that players must appear in at least 65 games this season to qualify for an All-NBA team could open up the door for someone like Ingram. Conversely, of course, Ingram himself hasn’t played more than 65 games in a season since 2017, so the 26-year-old will need to stay healthier this year in order to have a chance to be an All-NBA candidate.
The No. 2 overall pick in the 2016 draft, Ingram averaged a career-high 24.7 points, 5.8 assists, and 5.5 rebounds in 34.2 minutes per game (45 appearances) in 2022/23, posting a shooting line of .484/.390/.882.