Cross the New Orleans Pelicans off the list of Kevin Durant trade destinations. Rumors are they’d prefer to keep Brandon Ingram.
As the Kevin Durant trade saga has dragged on in Brooklyn the number of suitors has appeared to shrink dramatically. When Durant first asked to be traded the buzz was that every single team in the NBA would at least kick the tires and find out if the Nets were interested in anything they had. From all 29 teams, we appear to be down to the Celtics and Heat, neither of whom seem willing to budge on their offers of Tyler Herro or Jaylen Brown, surrounded by filler and picks.
The Phoenix Suns could and Toronto Raptors could be lurking but it’s not clear that either team could make an offer that would beat what the Heat or Celtics have on the table. And why would they big against themselves if they don’t have to?
The New Orleans Pelicans are another team that could theoretically put together a compelling package for Durant but rumors are, that they’re not interested.
Why wouldn’t the New Orleans Pelicans trade for Kevin Durant?
Reporting from Sam Amick of The Athletic indicated that any Durant deal would probably have to include a team’s second-best player, preferably a young one, along with the requisite filler and future first-rounders for a player of Durant’s stature. But according to Christian Clark of The Times-Picayune, the Pelicans aren’t interested in putting Brandon Ingram on the table.
If Durant gets moved, the New Orleans Pelicans could be players in the sweepstakes, but that would likely require them to surrender Brandon Ingram. League sources say the Pelicans are unwilling to do so.
Ingram is nine years younger than Durant, and in terms of annual average value, he costs approximately $15 million less.
Ingram is younger and cheaper and while he may have a much lower ceiling than Durant, his floor isn’t that far off. Over the past two seasons, Ingram has averaged 23.2 points, 5.3 rebounds and 5.2 assists per game, on a 57.0 true shooting percentage. He’s also, crucially, been healthy and available for 26 more games than Durant has over that span.
With Zion Williamson hopefully healthy, CJ McCollum returning and a core of intriguing young players the Pelicans are probably justified in not mortgaging their future for a short-term chance at taking the leap.