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Warriors Expected to Monitor Trade for ‘Devastating’ All-Star Scorer: NBA Exec

Getty Warriors coach Steve Kerr would appreciate the versatility from a scorer like Brandon Ingram.

The Warriors wrapped up what can only be termed a disappointing season without an appearance in the playoffs, as the team dropped its Play-In Tournament game against the Kings and punched out on 2023-24 early. It seemed to put an end to a 12-year stretch in which we were always able to call the Warriors, when healthy, potential championship contenders.

But what will they do now? Star guard Stephen Curry still has enough juice in the tank to lead a contending team, but the rest of the roster needs tweaks, if not an overhaul. Expect the Warriors to be aggressive in the search for a new potential No. 2 scorer to line up with Curry, a younger second-tier star who can score 22-22 points per night the way that Klay Thompson once did.

And there is a player who makes sense for that role: Pelicans star Brandon Ingram.

“For what they’re going to be looking for, he is the kind of guy they will be in the market for, because he is a player who can score but is a little bit damaged goods and maybe the price is lower than it ought to be,” one Western Conference executive told Heavy Sports. “But you know, you keep him healthy, you’re careful with him, and he can carry you through. He is still young (Ingram is 26) and that is absolutely what they want.

“He is a wildcard. But we saw him, he played 30 minutes against Washington and put up 40 points. He did that twice (also against Toronto). When he is right, he is a devastating scorer.”

Brandon Ingram Is a Star-Caliber Scorer

No doubt, Ingram is a player with star ability, who has put up one All-Star season, in his first season with the Pelicans back in 2019-20, when he was one of the main pieces the Lakers traded to New Orleans for Anthony Davis.

Problem is that, since then, Ingram has struggled to stay healthy. In the past four seasons, he has missed nearly 30% of the Pelicans’ games (225 out of 318 games). After averaging a career-high 24.7 points in 2022-23, he dropped to 20.8 points this year.

If they are willing to gamble on health, Ingram has a promising payoff, especially on the Warriors’ roster. Ingram is 6-foot-8 and coach Steve Kerr values the ability to morph into different positions.

“You can play him at the 4, he can switch a lot, he can play the 3 or the 2,” an Eastern Conference GM said. “He has become a very good playmaker, too. That is the kind of versatility Steve (Kerr) loves to have. You might question his toughness, but put him next to Draymond Green and that will change.

“New Orleans is not sure it wants to pay him. So, there are a lot of teams with an eye on him. There are probably 10-12 teams with their eyes on him in case he comes available, monitoring him, however you want to put it.”

Warriors Would Need to Take a Risk

Money could be the driving factor in Ingram leaving the Pelicans, and could help the Warriors get him at a reduced price. A swap of Chris Paul with Moses Moody and a future first-round pick could be in the wheelhouse, if the Pelicans like Paul (and the one year left on his deal).

Also on the table: A deal built around Andrew Wiggins and Moody, with Ingram coming back to the Dubs. Wiggins has three years and $84 million remaining on his contract.

Ingram is up for an extension, and is signed in 2024-25 for $36 million, the final year of a five-year, $158 million contract he signed in 2020.

While Ingram has been eligible for a three-year, $147 million deal this year, the Pels have not had discussions with him on an extension. The Warriors would face a similar decision, though Ingram is now up for a deal worth $208 million over four years.

It would be risky. But the Warriors are at a point where risks might be necessary to remain competitive.

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Warriors star power has faded, but a trade for a young (if oft-injured) scorer like Brandon Ingram could make them a contender again.