New Orleans Pelicans star Brandon Ingram is having the best season of his career and was named to the NBA All-Star team for the first time, but his pending restricted free agency is proving to be a divisive issue for executives around the sport.
Per ESPN's Tim Bontemps, "most" executives don't think Ingram is worth a max contract this summer.
One executive speculated to Bontemps that Pelicans executive vice president of basketball operations David Griffin could attempt to "hardball Ingram and say, 'Get an offer'" this summer.
New Orleans could find itself in a good negotiating position with Ingram because of the limited number of teams with cap space this offseason.
When the Pelicans acquired Ingram from the Los Angeles Lakers as part of the Anthony Davis trade, there was uncertainty about how much he would be able to contribute.
Ingram was diagnosed with deep venous thrombosis caused by a blood clot in his right arm last March that caused him to miss the final 19 games of the 2018-19 season.
The Pelicans could have offered Ingram a rookie extension before the start of the regular season, but there seemed to be little incentive by either side to do a deal without seeing what he was capable of doing.
Any concerns about Ingram appear to have been put to rest. The 22-year-old is averaging career-highs with 24.9 points, 6.4 rebounds and 4.2 assists per game. He's shooting 40 percent from three-point range on 6.3 attempts per game.
New Orleans has built a terrific core, led by Ingram, Jrue Holiday and Zion Williamson, that can be a force in the Western Conference as soon as next season if everyone returns.