Brandon Ingram said he was “absolutely not” even open to accepting a sub-max contract extension with the Pelicans last year.
So, he went into the final year of his contract, became an All-Star, won Most Improved Player and entered the offseason as one of the best restricted free agents in the NBA’s modern salary-cap era.
Now, he’ll get his max deal.
Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN:
This is not an extension. It’s a new contract that will pay Ingram:
Zion Williamson rightfully gets viewed as the Pelicans’ franchise player. He’s a special talent.
But many teams would love to have a centerpiece like the 23-year-old Ingram. New Orleans is spoiled to have both – especially because Ingram improved in ways that make him fit better with Williamson.
Ingram shoots better and makes more decisive decisions with the ball than he did with the Lakers. He must improve as a defender, but he absolutely can over this deal.
Even if Ingram hasn’t yet proven to be worth quite this high of a salary, he has shown the skill and determination to reasonably expect he’ll play his way into it as he enters his prime.