Do the Knicks have a trade for Pelicans former All-Star locked up this week?

Feb 27, 2024; New York, New York, USA; New Orleans Pelicans forward Brandon Ingram (14) controls the ball against New York Knicks forward Precious Achiuwa (5) during the second quarter at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

A trusted NBA source unveiled that the New Orleans Pelicans are likely to deal former All-Star Brandon Ingram sometime this week, leaving questions as to which team, including the New York Knicks, could be the other party involved.

Could the Knicks be in on the Brandon Ingram sweepstakes?

nba: new york knicks at new orleans pelicans, brandon ingram

NBA reporter Marc Stein had this to say on his substack about Ingram’s situation (h/t HoopsHype):

“A prominent former All-Star considered more likely to be dealt this week with the draft and free agency converging: New Orleans’ Brandon Ingram. It was roughly six weeks ago, back on May 12, that I wrote about a growing belief leaguewide that New Orleans would seriously explore the trade market for Ingram before next season. Anticipation that Ingram will soon be on the move has only swelled some six weeks later,” Stein said.

Ingram’s Pelicans resume gives the Knicks reason to desire to acquire him

Brandon Ingram, Knicks
Credit: Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports

Ingram has had his name on the trade block for weeks on end. The Pelicans finished with a 49-33 record in 2023-24 and saw Ingram finish second to Zion Williamson on the team in scoring with 20.8 points per game and finish first in assists at 5.7 APG. The playmaking combo forward has been instrumental in the Pelicans rebounding after Anthony Davis’ departure in 2019. He’s helped lead them to two playoff appearances in the last three seasons.

The Duke product, along with his fellow schoolmates Williamson and CJ McCollum currently make up New Orleans’ big three. Though health has been an issue for the former two, that trio along with their elite supporting cast has excelled when they’ve been healthy. Nevertheless, the Pelicans supposedly feel like now is the time to move on from Ingram.

Who could the Knicks trade for Ingram if they are the mystery team in trade talks?

New York Knicks guard Josh Hart (3) drives to the basket against New Orleans Pelicans forwards Zion Williamson (1) and Brandon Ingram (14) during the first quarter at Madison Square Garden
Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Could Julius Randle be on his way out of New York and back to his former team in New Orleans? Could the Knicks be working on a package centered around an assortment of role players and draft picks for the former 2020 Most Improved Player of the Year award winner?

The Knicks have made some of the most splashes dating back to the end of 2023. Their trades for OG Anunoby, Bojan Bogdanovic, and Alec Burks throughout the regular season changed the fabric of their team. Their most recent trade for Mikal Bridges while retaining the fullness of their star core has put them on the doorstep of championship contention. Ingram is the type of player that could put them over the edge. However, it would likely take trading a player of Randle’s caliber to bring him to the Big Apple.

Knicks president Leon Rose would have to assess whether Ingram would be a better No. 2 or No. 3 option than Randle moving forward. Both have their share of strengths and weaknesses that differ from one another. Randle is a rack attack waiting to happen and has added a clean three-point shot to his repertoire, though his reliability in the playoffs is still up in the air and his defense leaves something to be desired, though not much. Ingram is one of the most talented natural scorers in the NBA. Albeit, he plays at a slower pace than where the Knicks are trending and his style could clash with Jalen Brunson, though his passing ability is as good if not better than Randle’s.

Time will tell who gets to trade for Ingram, if reports from Stein come back accurate. If the Knicks hold on to Brunson, Bridges, and Anunoby and add Ingram into the fold, they’ll have a four-headed monster with size, speed, scoring punch, playmaking ability, and defensive prowess that could give any team a scare next year.

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