Lakers Rumors: Three reasons why it’s time to trade Brandon Ingram

Lakers Rumors: Three reasons why it’s time to trade Brandon Ingram

1. Kyle Kuzma can produce more right now

At the end of the day, Brandon Ingram has the potential to go down with a better legacy than Kyle Kuzma. On the surface, Ingram should and still does have a higher ceiling than the 27th overall pick in the 2017 NBA Draft. However, as it stands right now in October of 2017, Kuzma gives the Lakers more production in a starting role than Ingram does.

Heck, Kuzma has been surprising everyone this preseason. Should this strong play continue, he may continue to surprise us and have a better all-around career than Ingram.

The problem for the Lakers is there is no clear path to the starting five for Kuzma. The natural power forward is blocked by Julius Randle, with Larry Nance Jr. even needing minutes to progress. Because of this, Kuzma was moved over to the small forward position to back up Ingram and split quality minutes off of the bench at both forward positions.

At the end of the day, it may be better for Kuzma to start on the bench for the Lakers.

However, that does not mean that Kuzma would not be a good starting option should the Lakers part ways with Ingram.

Before the NBA Draft, this move would have been impossible to do. Unless the team acquired a star small forward in the deal, the position would have been a wasteland. With no first-round pick in next year’s draft, there is no point for the Lakers to tank with Luol Deng at small forward.

Now, the Lakers have a viable candidate to succeed Ingram at the small forward spot. Not only will Kuzma fill the hole left behind, he will outplay Ingram next season.

2. He can be packaged to free salary cap space

Even though trading Ingram will be a tough pill to swallow for many Laker fans, the truth of the matter is the team will get a great return for his services. Whether that return is a superstar or draft picks is yet to be seen, but LA will definitely get their value back.

When discussing trade talks, that seems to be something a lot of fans overlook.

Most importantly, however, trading Ingram will allow the Lakers to free up even more cap space next offseason. This trade would mimic the D’Angelo Russell trade identically. The Lakers would be sending Ingram, along with Deng and his huge contract, in exchange for someone on an expiring contract.

Such stars as DeMarcus Cousins could be acquired in a trade of this caliber. Heck, even if the team does not get a star in return, they could get some great draft value. Los Angeles could send the Cleveland Cavaliers Ingram and Deng in exchange for Amir Johnson and Jahlil Okafor. In that deal, the Lakers can get either their own pick or the 76ers pick in 2018; whichever is higher.

Regardless of what the Lakers get in return, they undoubtedly will have the luxury of pairing a terrible contract alongside Ingram. In doing so, the Lakers would be adding around $18 million in cap space the next three offseasons.

With Corey Brewer, Caldwell-Pope and Lopez also on expiring deals, this now gives the Lakers around $65 million in cap space next offseason. This leads perfectly into the third reason why Ingram should be traded.

3. A superstar small forward is right around the corner