Brandon Ingram, the No. 2 pick in this year’s NBA Draft, remains one of only two rookies to still sign a contract. Are the Los Angeles Lakers waiting to trade the Duke forward?
Last week, The Vertical’s front office insider Bobby Marks reported that Ingram (Lakers), Thon Maker (Milwaukee Bucks) and Domantas Sabonis (Oklahoma City Thunder) are the only rookies yet to ink deals with their respective teams. However, since that report, the Bucks have signed Maker.
Still 3 rookie scale contracts (not players stashed) unsigned; Brandon Ingram (LAL), Thon Maker (MIL) and Domantas Sabonis (OKC).
— Bobby Marks (@BobbyMarks42) July 29, 2016
Sabonis, son of NBA legend Arvydas Saboni, is currently in Rio with the Lithuanian national team. Upon his return from Brazil, the young power forward is expected to sign with the Thunder.
Brandon Ingram untouchable?
While the Lakers have constantly maintained that Ingram was not available via trade, there were reports last month that Los Angeles have an “unnamed trade target in mind” and could be waiting to pull the trigger on a potential blockbuster trade involving the Duke standout.
Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders reported last month that the Lakers aren’t done making offseason moves. “The team has held off on signing Tarik Black, Marcelo Huertas and second-overall pick Brandon Ingram, keeping an eye on what could be $13.6 million in cap room (assuming the team also waives and stretched Nick Young).
“The Lakers do have an unnamed trade target in mind, but are also preserving space for another opportunistic Calderon-like deal,” reported Pincus.
Russell Westbrook, the Oklahoma City Thunder superstar, has often mentioned as a potential trade target for the Lakers. According to Fred Katz of the Norman Script, there is “growing speculation around the league” that Westbrook will sign with the Lakers next summer. Therefore, it would make sense for the Thunder to trade Westbrook to L.A. and get a few valuable assets in return.
Are the Lakers really trading Brandon Ingram? Or is it a way to maintain salary cap flexibility?