Brandon Ingram will be a member of the New Orleans Pelicans for the foreseeable future. On Tuesday, Ingram agreed to a five-year, $158 million maximum contract extension with the Pelicans, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.
Ingram is coming off his first season as a member of the Pelicans, and his best overall campaign since he was selected No. 2 overall by the Los Angeles Lakers in the 2016 NBA Draft. In his first season with the Pelicans, Ingram averaged career-highs in points (23.8), rebounds (6.1) and assists (4.2) per game as the primary scorer for his new team. More importantly, after shooting only 32.9 percent on two 3-point attempts per game in his first three seasons as a Laker, he jumped all the way up to 39.1 percent on 6.2 attempts per game with the Pelicans. As a result, Ingram was named to his first All-Star team last season, and was also named the NBA’s Most Improved Player — an award he won over fellow finalists Bam Adebayo and Luka Doncic.
At still just 23 years old, Ingram has clearly established himself as one of the league’s best young players, and someone the Pelicans clearly plan to build around, alongside second-year stud Zion Williamson. In August, Ingram said that the Pelicans would be one of his “top choices” when it came to free agency.
“This is definitely a special place with a lot of really, really good people and a lot of genuine people,” Ingram said of New Orleans at the time. “So I’m enjoying where I am at.”
Ingram is a very skilled player, but it was his work ethic that really stuck out to the brass in New Orleans, and in turn, made them feel comfortable about making a major long-term investment in the fifth-year forward.
“This isn’t something where B.I. just showed up at the gym. We talked a lot about this. He did two-a-days every practice day this year,” Pelicans executive vice president of basketball operations David Griffin said of Ingram earlier this year, via Nola.com. “He’s one of the only young players I’ve ever had to beg to work less. He puts himself to incredible lengths to get better. He loves the game and has passion for the game that few players do.”
Now that he’s locked up long-term, the Pelicans will look to Ingram to continue to build off of the momentum that he developed last season, and in turn, help the team develop into a perennial contender in the competitive Western Conference under new coach Stan Van Gundy.