It’s more of a thought exercise than a bona fide trade rumor at this point, but freelance NBA writer Landon Buford has tweeted that, per NBA sources, the Portland Trail Blazers and New Orleans Pelicans have engaged in trade talks for Blazers All-Star Damian Lillard. The Pelicans’ offer is reportedly 23-year-old forward Brandon Ingram and draft picks.
Ingram just completed his fifth year in the NBA after being drafted 2nd overall in the 2016 NBA Draft by the Los Angeles Lakers. The 6’8 forward has one NBA All-Star appearance to his name, that coming in 2019-20 with the Pelicans. He averaged 23.8 points, 4.9 rebounds, and 4.9 assists starting 61 games for New Orleans this season, playing 34.3 minutes per. He shot 46.6% from the field, 38.1% from the three-point arc.
The 31-year-old Lillard has played in six All-Star games. He just completed his ninth season in Portland, averaging 28.8 points, 4.2 rebounds, and 7.5 assists, shooting 45.1% overall and 39.1% from the arc. He played in 67 games at 35.8 minutes per.
Ingram is scheduled to make $29.5 million next season on a deal that runs through 2024-25, topping out at $36 million in the final year.
Lillard will earn $39.3 million next year. His deal runs through 2023-24 guaranteed, with a player option in 2024-25 for $48.8 million.
New Orleans is replete with draft picks. They have the 10th selection in the upcoming 2021 NBA Draft. They also have their own pick and that of the Los Angeles Lakers in 2022. They owe, and are owed, various pick swaps with the Lakers and Milwaukee Bucks between 2023 and 2026. They have the 2027 first-rounder from the Bucks as well.
Would a combination of Ingram and picks intrigue you as a centerpiece for a Damian Lillard trade? Discuss below.