Wiggins for Ingram Rumors Brewing

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Updated: October 3, 2021
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With Andrew Wiggins still scheduled to miss the opener and all home games this season due to vaccination restrictions which he appears to be committed to, the trade rumors around his name continue to brew. An interesting exchange that has made its way through Twitter and the trade machines is a swap for small-forward Brandon Ingram. Now for Warriors fans who have grown mildly attached to Wiggins and his new defensive identity, they may see a straight swap as a true possibility. Unfortunately for them, the rest of the league holds B.I and his tenacious scoring are in higher regards than the once deemed Canadian Jordan.

One could argue an ideal trade for both sides would be quite simple, Wiggins + Wisemen for Brandon Ingram. The Warriors fix their current CV-19 situation, upgrade on the offensive end of the floor, and give up their future center who probably would play a non-impactful role come the playoffs for this season and the next. The Pels get Wiggins who has proven in his last season with the Warriors to be a better and more engaged defender than B.I and is more comfortable playing off ball to fit next to point-Zion. With Wisemen, if groomed to be a stretch big may be the ideal fit next to Williamson in the front court of New Orleans. The problem with this exchange is not with either franchise but instead with Zion and his camp’s expectations to make the postseason this year.

Regardless of what Wisemen may become 2-3 years down the road, this trade most likely makes the Pelicans slightly worse coming into the season. Instead, as the trade above prescribes, both franchises lean deeper into their timelines towards contention. Zion is sold on taking one more year in development to get a frontcourt trio of himself, Kuminga, and Wisemen, with the plans to tank at the end of the season for the last missing piece of their puzzle. He is also promised that next season, if an All-NBA talent becomes available, like a Brad Beal, then a stack of picks attached to the Wiggins contract will be moved in order to get him. Because the reality is, keeping Brandon Ingram and pushing all in on the playoffs this year is a recipe for disaster. There is no route to becoming a true contender in the West with this approach and even the densest-minded front office can see that.

But moving forward with Kuminga at the 3, Zion at the 4, and Wisemen at 5, if they could have 1 more top 5 pick and any all-star level guard, then they will become a serious threat in the West at exactly the right time. Three years down the road, the Lakers will have 39 year old Lebron James, Curry will be 36, Kawhi will be the oldest 33 year old in the league, and the Suns will be paying CP3 a bucket of money at the ripe age of 40 years old if they were to make the playoffs. If Zion wants to head to New York there really isn’t anything that can be done that is going to change that fact, however, moving off Ingram and getting high-end potential around Williamson is the best route for New Orleans long-term.

For the Warriors, as much as the attachment may have grown in Summer League watching the ceiling of Kuminga’s ISO athleticism, how would they be able to live with themselves if they got knockout of the first round knowing they didn’t do all they can to aid the Splash Brothers in a proper comeback? As good as Wiggins has shown himself to be, he simply isn’t wired to punish the inevitable double and triple teams that Curry is faced in the playoffs. Ingram is a killer and will invite 4th quarter opportunities where he will be expected to be one of the primary options when Steph is iced out of the offensive by muck-defenses from their opposition. The additional pieces sent out to New Orleans bring in an above average bruises inside for the LA and Denver matchups.

Jonas Valančiūnas, especially with a defined role only playing in the first 3 quarters of games, should provide pressure and intensity inside that will drain the likes of Jokic and Anthony Davis. Unlike Looney, who is a complete non-threat on the offensive end, if defenses decide to hyper-focus their attention out towards the perimeter, Valančiūnas will feast on the easiest 18 points a game of his career. Although the Warriors are sending out 3 players, if viewed from their 8-10 man postseason rotation they are deeper than they have been since the pre-KD era. After their starting 5 of Curry, Klay, Ingram, Dray, and Valančiūnas, they would have a surplus of pieces off the bench in Poole, Iggy, Bjelica, Otto Porter, Looney, Moses Moody, and Juan Toscano-Anderson. If they were willing to put this deal in motion, it would be hard not to see them sharing the title for Final’s favorites with the Lakers to come out the West.

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