Lakers Roundtable: Is it worth trading Brandon Ingram for Kawhi Leonard?

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Jason’s take:

This one is tough. Unless the Twitter poll completely changed overnight (which is very well could of), Laker fans are not keen on the idea of trading Brandon Ingram. Even though they are getting a top-five NBA player in return, the consensus seems to be a no.

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This is understandable. Fanbases tend to hang onto their own guys more than they should, overvaluing them in the process. If LeBron James was a Laker, instead of Kobe Bryant, the fans would be parading him as the greatest of all time, not Kobe. If the Lakers had Kawhi Leonard, and the Spurs were offering Brandon Ingram, Laker fans would scoff at it.

However, it is hard to say no to this trade. Of course, this is just our own speculation with Leonard potentially on the market, but Brandon Ingram is a realistic trade chip that could convince the Spurs of trading Leonard.

Ingram has done great and does have a big future ahead of him, it is hard to deny that. However, I have also not heard anyone evaluating Ingram’s ceiling more than being an all-star. He may be able to be a top-ten player in the league someday, but that may be his absolute ceiling.

Thus, the Lakers are trading up. Even if Ingram completely blows my evaluation out of the water, he will just hit the level that Kawhi Leonard is already on.

Leonard gives the Lakers’ instant title contention now and will continue to do so at only 26. Leonard has thrived in San Antonio, just imagine what he would do alongside Julius Randle, Lonzo Ball and Kyle Kuzma. Add in another star, like Paul George or Klay Thompson and that is a wrap. That is a team that will compete for titles for multiple years.

Next: Free agent options to replace Isaiah Thomas

If the Lakers can get Leonard to promise to commit to a long-term extension, then making this deal is a no-brainer. If Leonard tells the Lakers that he will not re-sign with the team after the 2019 or 2020 season then I understand the worry. That is the only case where I think the Lakers should be hesitant.