Brandon Ingram undoubtedly had his share of ups and downs in three seasons with the Los Angeles Lakers. He showed fans exactly the type of player he can be, and Ingram built on that this season to win the 2020 Most Improved Player Award.
Even coupled with the growing pains endured, Ingram formed a bond with Lakers fans that remains to this day. Ingram last played a game for the franchise in March 2019, but then a blood clot in his shoulder forced him to miss the remainder of the 2018-19 season.
While there were rumblings at the time, there was not telling those would be Ingram’s final games with the Lakers. During his rehab, Ingram was traded -0 alongside Lonzo Ball and Josh Hart — to the New Orleans Pelicans in exchange for Anthony Davis.
The trade wound up working for both sides, a rarity in today’s NBA, and Ingram got a fresh start in a city known for cherishing young talent. Even as he’s moved on, Ingram has nothing but positive feelings for the Laker faithful that be believes is mutual, according to Kyle Goon of the Southern California News Group:
“I think it’s love from each end, because if it was a bad remark or a negative remark, maybe go back, retune something and get better at it,” he said. “If it was a good remark, then I thank them for knowing the game of basketball and the person that I am, and that I was gonna get better. So it’s all love from each side. I still got love for the Laker fans, I still got love for the Duke fans.
He then paused, and smiled again: “And I got hella love for everybody in New Orleans.”
However, now that Ingram is out of L.A., he finds that blocking out the media noise is an even simpler task than he’d anticipated:
“It’s always been easy, but it’s way easier now that I’ve been through the Laker part – been through that media and stuff,” he said. “It was easy before, but it’s way easier now just to block everything out.”
The trade with the Pelicans was the prototype of a win-win deal. The Lakers got their second superstar to pair with LeBron James, and the Pelicans got a fresh batch of young talent to hit the reset button.
Ingram, Ball, Hart and Zion Williamson are set to the faces of the franchise for years to come.
And although the Lakers have no reason to complain — being the Western Conference’s No. 1 seed — there will always be that small part that wishes the success could have come with Ingram, Ball and Hart still on the roster.
Fans cheer Ball, Ingram and Hart in first return to L.A.
After the Lakers traded their three young players in exchange for Davis, it would be several months before their return to Staples Center.
That came on Jan. 3, when the Pelicans played their first of two games in L.A., and Ball, Ingram and Hart were welcomed back with open arms. The three were cheered on at several points throughout the game, especially during a tribute video played for them.
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