Knicks could send shockwaves through the NBA by trading for forward with superstar scoring potential

nba: new york knicks at new orleans pelicans, brandon ingram
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The New York Knicks want an All-Star player this offseason. The open market may present one that no one has linked to the team amid a wave of trade rumors this spring.

According to NBA reporter Marc Stein, the New Orleans Pelicans may shop Brandon Ingram this summer. This gives the Knicks a potential opportunity to add a special scorer with room still left to grow (h/t Heavy Sports’ Josh Buckhalter):

“A growing belief leaguewide that Pelicans will aggressively explore the trade market for Brandon Ingram before next season,” Stein wrote on May 12 (subscription required). “A handful of Eastern Conference teams (Philadelphia, Cleveland, Atlanta and Orlando) have already been mentioned as potential trade suitors for Ingram.”

Knicks potential trade target Brandon Ingram has a scoring-champion NBA ceiling

NBA: Portland Trail Blazers at New Orleans Pelicans
Credit: Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports

The Knicks could be the team that sends ripples through the league by trading for Ingram. The Duke product has that it-factor to his scoring repertoire that could burgeon in the Big Apple.

Ingram took a step back in 2023-24 in a crowded Pelicans offense, scoring 20.8 points per game on 49.2 percent shooting from the field. In his previous four seasons in New Orleans, the 6-8 forward posted 23.7 points including 1.9 three-pointers made on 37.5 percent shooting from outside and 46.7 percent shooting overall.

Ingram’s passing ability is another reason for the Knicks to consider trading for him

NBA: Cleveland Cavaliers at New Orleans Pelicans
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The North Carolina native is also a great distributor. Ingram has averaged 5.2 nightly assists in the last five years, to only 2.8 turnovers. That assist-to-turnover ratio is an elite marker at his position.

No one who enjoys the game of basketball would scoff at the idea of Ingram being able to average close to 30 points per game if put in a situation that was conducive for that output. His 31.1 PPG per 100 possessions numbers from 2023-24 prove that. However, the Knicks may not be exactly that, especially with the emergence of MVP candidate Jalen Brunson, but they’ve shown that they could have two volume-scoring alpha dogs in Brunson and 2024 All-Star Julius Randle play next to each other. Both averaged at least 24 points per game.

Variables at play for a Knicks-Ingram deal

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
Feb 27, 2024; New York, New York, USA; 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. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

As rock solid as Ingram is as a playmaker and efficient scorer, the one knock against him is the pace at which he plays. Ingram plays with the ball in his hands a lot, loves to operate in the mid-post, and isn’t the most active mover without the basketball. He’s a talented scorer with an elite ceiling that he may not have reached yet, but the Knicks were able to turn a corner on the year in large part because they swung the rock around the arc and pushed the pace in transition.

Unless they include Randle in a deal for Ingram, the Knicks would have to consider how he’d fit next to their leading scorers, especially seeing that there weren’t enough basketballs for him, Zion Williamson, and CJ McCollum at all times in New Orleans.

Ingram is set to make $36 million in the final year of his deal next season. The Knicks could make a power move by offering up Randle and Bojan Bogdanovic, moving off of their combined $48.8 million for 2024-25, throwing in a couple of first-rounders in the next three years, and asking for Ingram along with Trey Murphy III.

Bringing in the 2020 All-Star alongside Murphy III, a 6-8 sniper who shoots 39.2 percent from deep for his career and has athleticism that punched him a ticket to the Dunk Contest in 2023, could surround Brunson with impact players that could raise the Knicks to true title contention next season.

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