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Report: Brandon Ingram signing five-year, $158M max contract with Pelicans

Pelicans forward Brandon Ingram

NEW ORLEANS, LA - MARCH 6: Brandon Ingram #14 of the New Orleans Pelicans smiles during the game on March 6, 2020 at the Smoothie King Center in New Orleans, Louisiana. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2020 NBAE (Photo by Layne Murdoch Jr./NBAE via Getty Images)

NBAE via Getty Images

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:

  • 2020-21: $27,285,000
  • 2021-22: $29,467,800
  • 2022-23: $31,650,600
  • 2023-24: $33,833,400
  • 2024-25: $36,016,200
  • Total: $158,253,000

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.