5 Pelicans who definitely won't be back, 2 who shouldn't return next season

These Pelicans could be wearing a different uniform to start the 2024-25 season.
New Orleans Pelicans, Brandon Ingram
New Orleans Pelicans, Brandon Ingram / Kyle Ross-USA TODAY Sports
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Won’t be back: Brandon Ingram

Ingram was extension eligible this season, but they held off talks to see how the year played out. He has one season left on his current contract. Ingram is likely searching for a max contract, but the Pelicans cannot afford to overpay him. If the two sides cannot work out an extension, it is time to move on.

New Orleans cannot let him hit free agency. They are not paying the luxury tax and have $84 million committed to Zion Williamson, C.J. McCollum, and Herb Jones in the 2025-26 season when Ingram’s new contract would kick in. A maximum contract would be $50-plus million per year and put New Orleans near the salary cap with just four players.

Ingram does not move the needle enough in the Big Easy. He hasn’t been an All-Star since 2020, averages fewer than 60 games per season for his career, and has defensive questions. The 26-year-old is just entering his prime, but the Pelicans are 144-143 in his 287 games played over the last five seasons. Teams barely over .500 do not make the playoffs, and their second-best players do not get max contracts.

The New Orleans Pelicans will likely move on from Brandon Ingram this summer, but they should think long and hard about their future with Zion too.