In a widely-expected bit of bookkeeping, the Los Angeles Lakers announced Tuesday they had exercised team options to keep Larry Nance Jr. and Brandon Ingram for the 2018-19 season. The move will keep the 2015 and 2016 first round picks, respectively, in purple and gold until at least the summer of 2019.
Ingram is off to a mixed start to the current campaign. He scored a career-high 25 points in the Lakers’ win over the Phoenix Suns, but has scored just 12 and seven points in the team’s other two contests while only shooting 39.5 percent from the field.
Nance used a strong training camp and preseason to earn a spot in the team’s starting lineup, leaping past Julius Randle and Kyle Kuzma like they were players in the way of one of his trademark dunks. The No. 27 pick in the 2015 NBA Draft has averaged 11.3 points on 55.6 percent shooting during the Lakers three games so far.
Both players still have their faults. Ingram needs to improve his fundamentals and bulk up a bit as he continues to adjust to the NBA, while Nance needs to be a bit more willing and able to shoot if he’s going to maximize his full potential as a player.
That being said, teams almost always pick up these options, so despite the fact that neither player has fully lived up to their potential yet, it was always a safe bet the Lakers would pick up these options.
The options are also incredibly cheap for players of Nance and Ingram’s level of potential, with Ingram’s option worth “just” $5.8 million and Nance’s a downright paltry (by NBA standards) $2.3 million.
Those are cheap gambles to take on players who have shown so many flashes of promise, so it’s hardly surprising at all that the Lakers decided to hold on to Nance and Ingram for at least a while longer.