Over the weekend, news broke that New Orleans Pelicans star Zion Williamson had suffered a setback in his rehab from an offseason injury and his basketball activities would be reduced to further his rehab. Zion has not seen any time on the court so far this season and the timetable for his return is currently unknown. The team does not have a lot going for them, currently sitting at 8-20, the worst record in the Western Conference and third-worst record overall. The team is currently being led by Brandon Ingram; a young star who has been compared to Kevin Durant (something that Durant has acknowledged himself). Spending the last three seasons as a part of the Pelicans following the Anthony Davis trade, Ingram has been stuck on the Pelicans as they have sat at in bottom tier of the West for the last few seasons. With Zion’s return unknown and the Pelicans struggling to improve, is it time for Brandon Ingram to request a trade? This season, Ingram is averaging splits of 22.7 PPG, 6.1 RPG, and 4.7 APG. He would be a key addition to a team looking to be championship contenders or want a centerpiece for a rebuild. Here are just a few Ingram trades that could get Ingram out of New Orleans while providing something back for the Pelicans.
Trade 1- Ben Goes to the Big Easy
New Orleans Pelicans Receive: Ben Simmons
Philadelphia 76ers Receive: Brandon Ingram
This may be Philadelphia’s best chance to trade Ben Simmons. While Brandon is not a top 25 player (something Philly has wanted in return for Simmons), Ingram is close to being a top 25 player and is more than capable of being one in the next couple of seasons. Right now, the Sixers are not struggling at the point guard position as both Tyrese Maxey and Seth Curry have stepped up in Simmons’ absence, putting up 32 PPG together. At the small forward position, the Sixers could use some help. Georges Niang and Danny Green are putting up around 17 PPG combined and not doing much else. Adding Ingram and slotting him into the starting lineup would be big for Philly. Ingram is a solid distributor and rebounder, something Philly could use, especially when Embiid is off the court. Currently sitting in the sixth seed, adding Ingram could help move Philly’s push into the playoffs come April. On New Orleans’ side, Simmons would provide a solid distributor and rebounder for the team, but he would still need to improve on his scoring. While the Pelicans would have a slight drop-off in scoring, they would see that scoring upon Zion’s return. With Zion’s timetable unknown, Simmons could be a solid addition to the Pelicans in his absence.
Trade 2- Cleveland Makes a Splash
Cleveland Cavaliers Receive: Brandon Ingram
New Orleans Pelicans Receive: Ricky Rubio, Colin Sexton, Dean Wade, Picks
The Cleveland Cavaliers have been a genuine surprise this season. With many not expecting Cleveland not to do much this season after making few improvements, they have surprised many, currently sitting in the fifth seed in the East. Evan Mobley has looked like a clear winner for Rookie of the Year with his recent play, while the veterans Ricky Rubio and Kevin love has still provided for the team. Lauri Markkanen has looked like a solid free agent signing while Darius Garland has become Cleveland’s point guard of the future, meaning Colin Sexton will soon be on his way out of Cleveland, whether it’s by trade or free agency. This overall solid team has had surprising wins this season over Chicago, the Clippers, Miami, and Denver. Adding a piece like Ingram would help Cleveland become a playoff contender without LeBron James for the first time in a long time. Ingram would be a solid piece alongside Garland and Mobley, providing scoring, distribution, and rebounding. On the other side, New Orleans would get a solid veteran in Ricky Rubio who can provide his own scoring and distribution. In addition, Colin Sexton can provide the same at a younger age, fitting into the timeline New Orleans wants. Dean Wade could help in providing minutes off the bench. With Rubio and Sexton both being on expiring deals, New Orleans would most likely want a draft pick or two back with the risk Sexton or Rubio resigning.
Trade 3- The Overly Convoluted Four Team Trade
Philadelphia 76ers Receive: John Wall
Houston Rockets Receive: Ben Simmons, Jusuf Nurkic, Paul Reed
Portland Trailblazers Receive: Brandon Ingram, Eric Gordon, Charles Bassey
New Orleans Pelicans Receive: CJ McCollum, Danuel House Jr., Jaden Springer
Whenever a superstar is rumored to be traded, there’s always the one over-the-top trade involving multiple teams. The multi-team trade is meant to resolve several issues for multiple teams at once. This trade would do just that. First, Philadelphia would receive John Wall from the Houston Rockets. Everyone paying attention in the basketball world knows that John Wall is basically sitting at home wanting to play, while Houston has decided to pay him to sit at home while starting players who are nowhere near Wall’s level. Moving Wall to Philly would put him next to a superstar in Joel Embiid and put him on a contending team.
Second, Houston would be getting Ben Simmons from and Paul Reed from Philadelphia, as well as Jusuf Nurkic from the Portland Trailblazers. Everyone already knows the Simmons problem. Moving him to Houston would give him a fresh opportunity on a team that is not in the spotlight, allowing him to improve his game and avoid being in the news. Houston could either build around Simmons, Jalen Green and Christian Wood or help build Simmons to move him for picks. Nurkic would be a solid get for Houston. He is currently averaging a double-double with points and rebounds and is on an expiring deal. He Nurkic would most likely be a rental but would be able to play a role in Houston. Paul Reed would give Houston scoring off the bench, while also having a cheap contract.
Third, Portland finally decides to rebuild their roster around Damian Lillard after moving other key players. Portland would first get Brandon Ingram, who would be a solid player alongside Damian Lillard. Ingram would also provide some much-needed defense for Portland, somewhere they have struggled. They would also get veteran Eric Gordon from Houston. Gordon is a reliable veteran no matter where he goes. He’s only missed a few games this season, averaging over 14.0 PPG while shooting over 40% from three. He would easily fit in CJ McCollum’s current spot. The scoring would drop off just a little, but that would allow for Lillard and Ingram to score. Last, Portland would get Charles Bassey from Philadelphia. Bassey has an extremely cheap contract that could be moved somewhere else, or he could provide a few minutes and points off Portland’s bench.
Last, New Orleans would receive a big shake-up. They would first be CJ McCollum from Portland. McCollum is a reliable scorer and has all the potential to be an All-Star (something he almost was before his injury last season). There is no doubt that he would be able to lead the Pelicans in Zion’s absence. CJ needs a new start, and New Orleans would be an interesting landing spot for CJ. From Houston, the Pelicans would receive Danuel House Jr. He is not doing much for the Rockets right now but could be a good piece for New Orleans off the bench. The same could be said for Jaden Springer, coming from Philly. Springer has only played for two minutes this season as a part of the Sixers. Going to New Orleans would give Springer a chance to prove he can be a solid role player for any team.
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