Brandon Ingram inked a nine-figure contract in November after averaging 23.8 points and 6.1 rebounds during his age-22 season with the New Orleans Pelicans. At the very least, the former No. 2 overall pick seems to be on the cusp of stardom and, alongside Zion Williamson in New Orleans, the future is bright. With that said, it wasn’t always easy for Ingram and some of his young teammates, particularly during their last season with the Los Angeles Lakers in 2018-19.
Ingram recently joined The Old Man and the Three podcast with JJ Redick, who is now his teammate in New Orleans, and The Ringers’s Tommy Alter, and he referred to that last season as a “whirlwind” due to the rampant speculation about trade possibilities involving Anthony Davis.
— TheOldMan&TheThree (@OldManAndThree) December 28, 2020
Ultimately, Davis ended up in Los Angeles and Ingram was one of the centerpieces of the deal, but while Ingram did admit that there was at least one game with the Lakers when he let the noise bother him, it was his teammates that had it tougher.
“I know other guys around me, it killed them,” Ingram said. “When you wake up and you see your name on Twitter, and the guys around me, they love Twitter. They love searching, putting in their names.”
Of course, this isn’t a unique issue and, though it is often under-discussed, it can’t be easy for any athlete to hear frequent chatter about their future in a public forum. Granted, some of that comes with the territory with how the NBA is structured, but the the Davis situation was a particularly public negotiation process, and players like Ingram, Lonzo Ball and Josh Hart were in the news for things out of their control.
Ingram’s candor here is noteworthy, and this isn’t the first time that Redick has been able to facilitate a frank conversation with a current or former teammate. It is a reminder, though, that it isn’t just the star players that are involved in trade rumblings from time to time, and it isn’t just fantasy basketball when real people are involved.