Kevin Durant Rumors: Pelicans' Brandon Ingram Not Available in Trade for Nets Star

Tim Daniels@@TimDanielsBRFeatured Columnist IVJuly 28, 2022

New Orleans Pelicans forward Brandon Ingram (14) controls the ball during an NBA basketball game against the Los Angeles Lakers in Los Angeles, Friday, April 1, 2022. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis)
Brandon Ingram (AP Photo/Ashley Landis)

The New Orleans Pelicans have reportedly so far refused to make All-Star forward Brandon Ingram available in trade talks with the Brooklyn Nets for Kevin Durant.

Michael Scotto of HoopsHype reported Wednesday it appears there's little traction in those discussions as well as the KD trade market as a whole, which "has not materialized" like the Nets hoped.

"You wondered if Brandon Ingram of the Pelicans could be a guy that's put on the table? To this point, I've heard he's not been put on the table," Scotto said. "I also didn't see Durant necessarily wanting to go to New Orleans, as well."

Brooklyn is trying to escape from the drama-filled years of a Durant and Kyrie Irving core without being forced down the road of an extended, painful rebuilding process.

In turn, the Nets have targeted instant-impact players such as Ingram and the Boston Celtics' Jaylen Brown as potential cornerstones to help facilitate a roster reconstruction rather than a teardown.

The Nets have established a sky-high asking price for Durant since his trade request in late June, however, and so far interested teams have balked at the demands.

Shams Charania of The Athletic reported the Celtics offered Brown, Derrick White and a draft pick for KD but were quickly turned away. Brooklyn instead sought Brown, Marcus Smart, multiple draft picks and potentially another rotation player.

It's hard to make an exact replica of that proposal from New Orleans, but it'd probably be something along the lines of Ingram, Herbert Jones, Devonte' Graham and a multitude of picks.

While there's no doubting Durant's talent as a 12-time All-Star and former NBA MVP, the key question for interested teams is whether paying the king's ransom the Nets are seeking would leave enough talent to seriously contend in the short term.

The Pelicans would have a terrific foundation in Durant, Zion Williamson, CJ McCollum and Jonas Valanciunas, but their depth would take a serious hit and they'd lack draft selections to add role players on team-friendly contracts in the years ahead.

Of course, much of the Pels' outlook is heavily dependent on Williamson's health after he missed the entire 2021-22 campaign with a foot injury. His uncertain status creates some additional risk with shifting toward a fully win-now approach.

It's always possible teams circle back to Brooklyn to see whether the asking price becomes reduced as training camp draws closer. Jared Weiss of The Athletic reported the Nets would like to avoid the "kerfuffle" that would come with a possible KD camp holdout.

That said, for now it appears the Pelicans are prepared to keep Ingram and stay on a more steady growth path with the hope Williamson can eventually return to his game-changing ways.