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What a Breakout Year Could Mean For Brandon Ingram

It’s about more than a possible supermax for Brandon Ingram. Boardroom dives into what the Pelicans might have to look forward to.

Pelicans forward Brandon Ingram is ready for his breakout season as a superstar in the NBA. Just ask Kevin Durant, who’ll face Ingram Wednesday night when the Nets meet the Pelicans for both teams’ season openers at Barclays Center.

“B.I. is one of the most impressive players I’ve seen in the league in a long time. A long time,” KD said in the season 3 premiere of The ETCs.

Coming off a season in which he averaged 22.7 points, 5.8 rebounds and 5.6 assists per game, Ingram has a legitimate shot at helping make the Pelicans a powerhouse as phenom Zion Williamson returns after missing last season with a fractured foot.

Ingram has provided a glimmer of hope amid a NOLA rebuild, which has helped guide them to where they are today. As the 25-year-old lanky scorer enters his seventh season in the NBA, he can cash in big-time if he takes care of business and asserts himself as one of the league’s best. 

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This past summer, Williamson signed a five-year, $186 million rookie max extension. In addition, the Pelicans extended guard CJ McCollum for two more years worth $64 million.

Ingram, on the other hand, is still in the midst of a five-year, $158.3 million deal that runs through the 2024-25 season. However, he’ll become eligible for a supermax deal if he makes any of the three All-NBA teams either this season or next.

Brandon Ingram Current Contract

  • Years remaining: 3
  • Average Annual Value Remaining: $33,833,400
  • Total Value: $158,253,000 (all guaranteed)
  • UFA: 2024

Previous Supermax Signees 

Karl-Anthony Towns and Devin Booker both signed four-year supermax extensions worth $224 million after each made an All-NBA team. 

The number will inevitably rise before the 2023 offseason, and in the case of KAT and Booker, it’s the full 35% of the NBA salary cap that they received. On the other hand, Zach LaVine signed a 30% supermax worth five years, $215 million. If Ingram reaches his mark, expect it to be anywhere ranging from the $214-$230 million range.

Pros and Cons for NOLA

After extending both Zion and McCollum, the Pelicans are the 18th-highest-spending team in the NBA this season at $146,694,109. With this in mind, here’s how they need to weigh their options with extending Ingram:

Pros: It would show a commitment to winning, especially among their young stars. Ingram has been an integral (and patient) part of New Orleans’ rebuilding process. It goes without saying that they’d be a legitimate force in the NBA for several years if they can lock both Zion and Ingram into long-term deals. It’s relatively simple, too. He’s a star on the brink of superstardom. If he gets there at 25 years old, then he should absolutely earn his due. We’re also talking about the golden piece they received in the Anthony Davis trade. There’s stock value here.

Cons: NOLA’s 2022-23 payroll is a bit deceiving because it doesn’t account for Zion’s extension just yet. When his $33.5 million loads into the 2023-24 payroll, they’ll become the fifth-highest-spending team at $169,475,200. 

What It Is: Signing Ingram to this now-hypothetical supermax would make the most sense in the summer of 2024. At that point, Jonas Valanciunas’ $15.34 million comes off the books, McCollum will only have two years left on his deal, and only five players (including B.I.) are on the books, excluding player/team/qualifying offers.

Whatever the case may be, New Orleans is in a good place with Zion, Ingram, and McCollum. The next year or two will really show whether these guys are capable of competing with the big dogs in the West. Not to mention, they’ll need to pick up a team option for 24-year-old defensive standout Herb Jones during the 2023 offseason.

But if Ingram does indeed break out the way many are expecting this year — and New Orleans proves its a contender — executive VP David Griffin and GM Trajan Langdon may have no other choice but to break the bank to keep their superstars happily intact.

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About The Author
Anthony Puccio
Anthony Puccio
Anthony Puccio is a Staff Writer at Boardroom. Puccio has 10 years of experience in journalism and content creation, previously working for SB Nation, The Associated Press, New York Daily News, SNY, and Front Office Sports. In 2016, he received New York University's CCTOP scholarship and earned a bachelor's degree in Communications from St. John's University. He can be spotted a mile away thanks to his plaid suits and thick New York accent. Don't believe us? Check his Twitter @APooch.