New Orleans Pelicans All-Star Brandon Ingram would “welcome a deal” to the Miami Heat, per Adam Borai of 5 Reasons Sports. The report comes on the heels of a previous one claiming that Duncan Robinson is garnering major interest from the folks down in The Big Easy.
This isn’t the first time that Ingram has been linked to South Beach. There were rumblings in June (via Heat Insider Ethan Skolnick) about the 6-foot-8 stretch forward possibly being on the outs with Pelicans head coach Stan Van Gundy. The franchise doesn’t view Ingram as a long-term fit with franchise star Zion Williamson.
Ingram averaged 23.8 points, 4.9 rebounds, 4.9 assists in 61 games last season for New Orleans. He and Williamson were one of the highest-scoring duos in the NBA at 50 points per game, but the 23-year-old was often criticized for his effort on the defensive end. It was something he vowed to improve on moving forward.
“(One goal next season is) me having the mindset of trying to be a killer on the offensive and defensive end, knowing that most games I have a mismatch, and taking full advantage of it every single night,” Ingram told NBA.com. “On defense, (eliminating) some of my letdowns. I want to be better on the defensive end.”
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Ingram’s Perfect Fit in South Beach
Miami has been pursuing another big man to pair with Bam Adebayo dating back to last year when they flirted with several high-profile players at the trade deadline, including Andre Drummond, LaMarcus Aldrige, Blake Griffin, DeMarcus Cousins before settling on Dewayne Dedmon in the buyout market. The Heat never duplicated the production they lost when Jae Crowder left for Phoenix.
Meanwhile, Ingram would fill a lot of buckets and serve as a legitimate third scoring option behind Adebayo and Jimmy Butler. His salary is a huge one – $31.6 million average annually over the next four years – but the Heat do have ample cap space, plus Ingram owns a 15% trade kicker which could make him force a trade if he feels unwelcomed in New Orleans.
Remember, Ingram was part of a three-team blockbuster trade in 2019 that sent him to New Orleans and Anthony Davis to the Los Angeles Lakers. The Pelicans received Ingram, Lonzo Ball, Josh Hart, and the draft rights to the fourth overall pick in the 2019 NBA draft in the deal.
Tyler Herro Remains Off-Limits
The compensation in any trade scenario continues to be a thorn in the Heat’s side. Devoid of draft picks in 2021, Miami can only dangle future assets and young players currently on their roster. The usual suspects include Tyler Herro, Kendrick Nunn, Precious Achiuwa, and maybe Goran Dragic if they pull the trigger prior to Aug. 1.
Here’s the rub: Heat president Pat Riley remains bullish on Herro and reluctant to trade him. The 21-year-old guard regressed slightly in 2021 but still averaged 15.1 points per game while shooting 36% from three-point range.
According to the Miami Herald, the Heat wouldn’t even include Herro in a sign-and-trade for Kyle Lowry. The six-time All-Star is about to hit free agency after an injury-plagued final year for the Toronto Raptors. The one-time NBA champion is expected to get a ridiculous $25 million to $30 million on the open market. He turns 36 on March 25.