Although the NBA season is still young, enough basketball has been played to give a rough idea on how each team will perform throughout the rest of the year. Teams like Washington, Cleveland, and Chicago have taken the league by storm, shocking everyone by exceeding expectations. Other teams, such as the New Orleans Pelicans, have shocked everyone in a negative way. The Pelicans were expected to flirt with a playoff berth, but after an abysmal 2-12 start, making the play-in tournament seems like a pipe dream.
New Orleans has dealt with a massive amount of injuries, but that doesn’t make up for the season they’ve had thus far. The defense has been a major problem, and the depth of this group should scare Pelicans fans. However, the main thing that should be scaring Pelicans fans shouldn’t be the depth. It should be Zion Williamson.
In his third season as a pro, it seems as if Williamson will be sidelined for the majority of the year. This draws parallels to his rookie season, as he missed all but 24 games in his first year as a pro. This isn’t the only concern for the youngster, as multiple reports stated Williamson was north of 300 pounds this offseason. This massive weight gain will ultimately affect Williamson’s ability to get out in transition, as his stamina will be severely affected as a result.
It’d be smart by New Orleans to sit Williamson out the rest of the season. Again, there’s still enough time for any team to bounce back from a rough start, but for New Orleans everything looks in shambles for this organization. Due to this, it might be wise to move on from Robin Williamson’s Batman, Brandon Ingram.
Out of all the realistic trade targets in the league, Ingram might be the hottest commodity among all of them. Contenders in need of another closer and creator can throw all their chips at New Orleans in hopes of receiving a star caliber wing to help a championship run, but rebuilding teams can throw enticing offers New Orleans’ way in an attempt to make Ingram a future cornerstone. Even middle of the pack teams can make a run at Ingram, in hopes of pushing them over the top and raising their ceiling.
Ingram is clearly a guy who can go to any team and fit into their timeline. There’s very few teams in the league who wouldn’t want Ingram, and his value is at a good enough stage to the point where he’s attainable for most teams. Some notable teams that Ingram would fit well on are the Cavaliers, Mavericks, Grizzlies, Hawks, and Kings, among many more.
If Ingram can be a valuable piece to any team in the league, why should New Orleans deal him away? Well, it’s simple. This team has an incredibly small chance at doing anything noteworthy this season, and the fit with Williamson and Ingram has always had some question marks. If there’s a time to trade Ingram, that time should come now. His value may never be higher, as he’s 24 years old and a proven All-Star player. Although he and Williamson could be a successful pairing for many years to come, it’d be best for New Orleans to move on from him, get an extra pick or two, and gear up for next season when Williamson is at full strength.
As for Ingram, it might be smart for him to simply request a trade. He’s in his sixth season as a pro and hasn’t sniffed the playoffs once yet, and looking at the trajectory New Orleans is on, he might not sniff the playoffs for years to come as a Pelican. It’d be best for Ingram to go to a playoff team and experience the playoff atmosphere before he’s in the middle of his prime.
Overall, it makes sense for both sides to move on from each other. Although it’s unlikely, both sides could massively benefit from a breakup. Nearly every team in the league would be happy to have Ingram’s services, and New Orleans can kickstart a mini re-tool before Williamson gets back.