Ranking 8 Brandon Ingram suitors by best fit

Brandon Ingram has become of the NBA's most fascinating offseason topics. Several teams have expressed interest in him amidst his pending contract extension.
Brandon Ingram (pictured) versus Oklahoma City Thunder
Brandon Ingram (pictured) versus Oklahoma City Thunder / Cooper Neill/GettyImages
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The first three days of NBA free agency have started with a blaze. Paul George, Klay Thompson, Isaiah Hartenstein, Tobias Harris, and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope have signed with new teams. Mikal Bridges and Dejounte Murray have been acquired by new teams via trade. Murray was acquired by New Orleans early Saturday morning, one day before the start of free agency. The dilemma for the Pelicans is whether Brandon Ingram has played his final game with Murray now a Pelican.

Ingram is entering the final year of the five-year, $158 million contract extension he signed with New Orleans. Making $36 million this upcoming season, the Pelicans are in a tough cap situation with Dejounte Murray's contract now on their books. The Pelicans are now $47 million over the salary cap, with just $10 million of first apron cap space and $21 million of second apron cap space.

While news has emerged about Brandon Ingram and a potential return to New Orleans long-term, the current consensus remains that Ingram will begin next season in a new uniform. His uncertainty makes him a potential short-term rental option for teams attempting to sign Ingram to a long-term contract extension. After averaging 21 points, five rebounds, and six assists this season, Ingram remains among the top players available this offseason. Below, we rank his suitors by best fit.

8. Houston Rockets

A promising 41-41 season in Houston left the organization optimistic for its future while recognizing the need to improve. Finishing 11th in the Western Conference last season, the Rockets just missed the Play-In Tournament but made incremental improvements under Ime Udoka's first year as head coach. After a 22-60 season in 2022-23, Udoka's coaching wizardry led to a 19-win improvement. However, the Rockets appear ready to be aggressive in acquiring another All-Star caliber player.

The Rockets recently made a trade with the Brooklyn Nets, acquiring future Phoenix Suns' draft picks in the trade of draft assets. By acquiring those picks, the Rockets are positioning themselves for not only Suns forward Kevin Durant, but other top available talent. A few top talents worth mentioning are Jimmy Butler and Brandon Ingram. While Butler is undergoing tension with the Miami Heat over a contract dispute, the Pelicans reportedly already reached out to Houston regarding Brandon Ingram.

However, the Rockets were unwilling to part ways with franchise center Alperen Sengun, and Ingram has remained a Pelican. While the draft assets and trade package for Ingram from Houston could be very enticing, his fit as a Rocket is questionable. A logjam for minutes is already present on the wing, with Dillon Brooks, Cam Whitmore, Amen Thompson, Jae'Sean Tate, Tari Eason, and Jabari Smith Jr. already playing nearly all the minutes across the wing and forward positions.

A move for Ingram would upgrade Houston's talent, and potentially make them a realistic play-in or better team. However, the move itself still leaves questions about how Ingram would gel with a defensive-minded coach, Fred VanVleet's on-ball responsibilities, Jalen Green's unwillingness to become a capable passer, and Alperen Sengun's 'Sabonis-like' skillset. Another team considering Ingram could be a better fit, though. Ironically, they have already made a huge trade with New Orleans.