Why Does a Brandon Ingram-for-Trae Young Trade Make Sense?

Trae Young's impact could redefine Pelicans' postseason dynamics.

by Faizan Chaudhary
Why Does a Brandon Ingram-for-Trae Young Trade Make Sense?
© Sarah Stier/Getty Images

The New Orleans Pelicans are poised to "aggressively explore" the possibility of trading small forward Brandon Ingram, according to a report by NBA insider Marc Stein. Concurrently, ESPN's senior NBA insider Adrian Wojnarowski has indicated that the Atlanta Hawks' interest in offloading guard Trae Young is "very real." A potential trade involving these two players appears increasingly feasible and strategically sound for both teams involved.

For the Pelicans, the swap would solve a pressing need at the point guard position. While Ingram has been a solid performer, averaging 20.8 points this season, his role has become somewhat redundant due to the team's depth at the wing.

Trading him for Young, who notched an impressive 25.7 points per game this season, would not only alleviate this logjam but also introduce a dynamic lead guard to the roster. Young's exceptional average of 9.5 assists per game underscores his ability to synergize with the Pelicans' core—Zion Williamson, Larry Nance Jr., Trey Murphy III, and Herb Jones—thereby enhancing the team’s offensive fluidity.

Strategic Playoff Boost

Moreover, Young's playoff performance, averaging 26.4 points across 27 games, would complement CJ McCollum's perimeter scoring, adding a robust layer to the Pelicans' offensive strategies during the postseason.

Although Young’s defensive skills might be lacking, the Pelicans' strong defensive lineup, including capable defenders like Jones and Murphy III, could compensate, allowing him to focus on offense. Conversely, for the Hawks, this trade aligns with their current strategic pivot towards rebuilding.

The acquisition of this year’s No. 1 draft pick and the intent to overhaul the roster signal a new direction. Trading Young for Ingram provides Atlanta with a high-value asset who could either be developed or used in future trades.

Ingram, despite a disappointing playoff performance where he averaged just 14.3 points on 34.5% shooting, still holds significant potential. This move would allow him to possibly rejuvenate his career in a less demanding market, enhancing his trade value.

Additionally, acquiring Ingram, who is on the final year of a five-year, $158 million contract, would grant the Hawks flexibility in managing their cap space while utilizing their substantial draft capital, which includes 12 first-round picks from 2024-2030.

This strategic depth could be instrumental in accelerating their rebuilding phase. In essence, a trade involving Ingram for Young would not only address immediate tactical needs for both the Pelicans and Hawks but also align with their longer-term strategic objectives, making it a compelling option for both franchises as they look to optimize their rosters for future success.