New Orleans Pelicans star Brandon Ingram isn't wavering in his commitment to the franchise amid a disappointing 2021-22 NBA season.
"I've made a commitment to New Orleans that I was going to be here for five years and not knowing what was going to come with it. Of course, I want to always be on the winning side. It's always frustrating when you lose, you lose and you lose. But I think you find beauty in pushing hard. I'm trying to figure out a way with the group that we have with making each other better every single day."
The Pelicans are 14th in the Western Conference at 6-17, and their odds of reaching the playoffs are already long. FanDuel lists them at -4500 to miss the postseason for the fourth straight year.
Just as Anthony Davis eventually grew frustrated and charted a new path to the Los Angeles Lakers, it wouldn't be surprising if Ingram is beginning to have second thoughts about remaining with the team.
The 24-year-old quickly became disaffected with former head coach Stan Van Gundy, with NOLA.com's Christian Clark reporting in June their relationship was "was strained for a majority of the season."
Based on Ingram's comments to Medina, his dynamic with first-year head coach Willie Green appears to be stronger: “I just hit him on some of the stuff I see on the floor and how we can be better and how the organization can be better. The good thing about it is he gives a good response that I really like.”
Ingram is averaging 21.4 points, 6.4 rebounds and 4.4 assists. Until he delivers in the playoffs, some will probably wonder whether his production contributes to winning basketball, not unlike the narrative around Devin Booker before the Phoenix Suns' NBA Finals run.
But the 2020 All-Star appears to be the kind of talent who can serve as a franchise cornerstone. Losing him wouldn't quite be the same as losing Davis, but it would be a massive setback for an organization that needs to prove it can build around homegrown stars.
Luckily for New Orleans, Ingram's interview with Medina will quell any rumors about his future for the time being.
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