The New Orleans Pelicans have reportedly locked forward Brandon Ingram, the 2020’s NBA Most Improved Player, to a long-term extension.
According to ESPN’s Zach Lowe, the 23-year-old Ingram agreed to a max deal with the Pels that will net him $158 million in the next five years. He’ll possibly get his earnings up to $195 million in case he makes one of the All-NBA teams.
Ingram, who was the No.2 pick in 2016, arrived in New Orleans last year in a trade that saw Anthony Davis join the Lakers. He decided to pass on the more modest extension offer from Pelicans at the time, hoping to improve his game and get himself a more lucrative deal this offseason.
Betting on himself proved to be a good move, as Ingram emerged as arguably the Pelicans’ best players in 2019/20. He had a breakthrough regular season campaign, during which he averaged 23.8 points, 6.1 rebounds, and 4.2 assists per game. This earned him not only the MIP award but also a spot on the All-Star team.
Having Brandon Ingram on board for five more years means that the Pelicans have now positioned themselves as an emerging force in the Western Conference. They have an abundance of young talent surrounding Ingram, including 2019’s first overall pick Zion Williamson and guard Lonzo Ball, while also being in a position to get more impactful players thanks to draft assets acquired in previous trades.