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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Los Angeles Clippers

The Clippers' case for Brandon Ingram should feel self-explanatory. They lost Paul George for nothing in free agency to Philadelphia, after having several sign-and-trade options available with the Golden State Warriors. With George gone, the Clippers re-signed James Harden, signed Kevin Porter Jr., Derrick Jones Jr., and signed Nicolas Batum for a second stint with the team. The Clippers have a roster built to win now but lack control of their future thanks to the infamous Paul George trade.

Without George, the Clippers lack the necessary roster to truly contend in the Western Conference. Replacing George's production is no easy feat, especially considering the amount of games Kawhi Leonard has missed. Even though George has been unable to stay on the court himself, he's remained reliable and fairly consistent for the Clippers. James Harden will have to be the primary option to fill George's shoes, but Harden's facilitating play style doesn't ask him to score heavily.

These are a few of the factors that could play a role in Los Angeles' interest in Ingram. Still yet to enter his prime years, Ingram would be the youngest of a trio alongside Leonard and Harden. The Clippers would have to trade a substantial amount of depth to New Orleans to secure a trade for Ingram, but it's a risk they have to take to remain among the Western Conference's contenders. With every team improving in different ways, the Clippers have taken a step back this offseason.

Ingram would be a 'breathe of fresh air' for a stuck franchise, needing some hope for its future. Moving into a new arena next year, a move for Ingram would revitalize their fanbase and roster. He would lengthen the Clippers shrinking championship window, and potentially become their franchise player after Kawhi Leonard and James Harden both move on from the Clippers or retire as Clippers.

Brandon Ingram's never-ending trade talks appear to be coming down to its final stretch this offseason. Ingram will return to New Orleans on a long-term contract extension, or he'll be playing in a different uniform next season. With the Bucks and Clippers falling down the 'totem pole' of top teams in the league, a move for Ingram could be what accelerates them back towards the top.