Bucks and Clippers set to enter Brandon Ingram sweepstakes

With the market dwindling, Brandon Ingram's return to New Orleans feels inevitable. However, a few contending teams in need of help may try acquiring Ingram.
Brandon Ingram (pictured) versus Oklahoma City Thunder
Brandon Ingram (pictured) versus Oklahoma City Thunder / Cooper Neill/GettyImages
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Brandon Ingram's market could be growing. With many of his suitors unable to trade for him, or pursuing other targets like Paul George, DeMar DeRozan, and others, it appears imminent Ingram returns to the Pelicans for the 2024-25 season. Despite the speculation, Ingram's long-term future in New Orleans remains mirky. However, a few new terms have potentially emerged as possible trade partners for Brandon Ingram. Below is a deep dive into each team's desire for Brandon Ingram.

Milwaukee Bucks

The Bucks' current roster can contend in the Eastern Conference. One problem: Health. The Bucks lost to Indiana in the first round of the Eastern Conference playoffs. The Bucks not only played the series without franchise superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo but were forced to play Games Four and Five without Damian Lillard. The Pacers would eventually win the series in six games. With one season concluded of the Giannis-Dame pairing, the Bucks have work to do to contend with the league's best.

While Khris Middleton and Bobby Portis tried to will Milwaukee back in their playoff series, the status of each of them remains unclear. Portis has played the peak of his career in Milwaukee, but his fit next to Giannis and Brook Lopez has become questionable. Portis isn't an exceptional defender, but his offense and rebounding have been exceptional for the Bucks. Meanwhile, Middleton's season started slow, returning from injury. He struggled to find a rhythm or consistency throughout the season.

Middleton finished his season averaging just 15 points, five rebounds, and five assists per game. Almost identically statistically to his 2022-23 season, Middleton's injuries have derailed his overall skillset and performance. Milwaukee needs an upgrade on the wing, and Ingram could be an option for the Bucks as they attempt to remain relevant among the East's best. New York acquired Mikal Bridges, the 76ers signed Paul George and the Cavs kept Donovan Mitchell. What about the Bucks?

The Bucks' offseason has been one of the quietest, relying on the draft to bring in new talent. They drafted unproven prospect AJ Johnson with their late first-round pick. Milwaukee followed that pick by drafting G League Ignite's Tyler Smith in the second round. Even though he showed promise, Smith, like Johnson, is a project rather than a win-now prospect. Milwaukee's best chance to compete would be moving on from one (or both) of Middleton and Brook Lopez.

The younger Ingram extends Milwaukee's championship window. Like Middleton, Ingram can be a secondary offensive option, with the ability to step up when needed. With Middleton's decline in age and performance, acquiring a younger wing like Ingram would be a big, win-now move with Giannis Antetokounmpo and Damian Lillard. The same sentiments can be said for Lopez, whose age and performance have declined. Moving each player would give more minutes to Portis and others.

If New Orleans was interested in either Middleton or Lopez, they would effectively become 'plug-and-play' players. Lopez would fill a major need at center, also stretching the floor for Zion Williamson, while Middleton would enter New Orleans as another versatile wing alongside Herb Jones and Trey Murphy III. Furthermore, Middleton's defense would be an upgrade over Ingram's. Next to Dejounte Murray and Herb Jones, Middleton could flourish with the Pelicans.