NBA

Pelicans All-Star Ingram signs five-year max extension

By Sports Desk November 24, 2020

New Orleans Pelicans All-Star Brandon Ingram has agreed a five-year, $158million maximum contract extension with the NBA franchise.

Ingram's agents Jeff Schwartz and Jordan Gertler confirmed the new deal to ESPN on Tuesday.

The 23-year-old forward was part of the blockbuster trade that sent Anthony Davis to LeBron James' Los Angeles Lakers at the start of 2019-20.

Ingram has flourished in New Orleans, where he earned All-Star selection for the first time and was named the league's Most Improved Player.

The second pick in the 2016 NBA Draft, Ingram enjoyed a career season with the Pelicans.

Ingram set personal highs by averaging 23.8 points, 6.1 rebounds and 4.2 assists per game for the Pelicans (30-42), who missed out on the playoffs despite reaching Walt Disney World Resort amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The max contract comes as the Pelicans acquired star center Steven Adams, veteran point guard Eric Bledsoe and two future first-round picks in a four-team deal with the Denver Nuggets, Milwaukee Bucks and Oklahoma City Thunder.

Adams arrives from the Thunder, while Bledsoe swaps the Bucks for the Pelicans after New Orleans sent Jrue Holiday and the draft rights to Sam Merrill to Milwaukee.

"Steven Adams and Eric Bledsoe are not only fiercely competitive and driven to succeed at the highest levels, they are proven winners with a team-first mentality," said Pelicans executive vice-president of basketball operations David Griffin.

"As we continue to build toward the sustainable success our ownership demands and our fans so richly deserve, we are grateful to be able to do so with such high-quality team-mates and human beings."

Adams, who has spent his entire seven-year career in Oklahoma City, boasts a career average of 9.8 points, 7.6 rebounds and 1.2 assists per game, having averaged 10.9 points, 9.3 rebounds and 2.3 assists in 2019-20.

Bledsoe teamed up with NBA MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo, where he averaged 14.9 points, 4.6 rebounds and 5.4 assists for Eastern Conference champions the Bucks last season.

Related items

  • Sixers coach Rivers 'expects' to have Embiid back for Celtics clash Sixers coach Rivers 'expects' to have Embiid back for Celtics clash

    Philadelphia 76ers head coach Doc Rivers said he "expects" All-Star Joel Embiid to return for Wednesday's showdown with rivals the Boston Celtics.

    Embiid sat out Saturday's 106-104 loss to the Memphis Grizzlies due to right knee soreness, and the three-time NBA All-Star would have been absent again if Sunday's clash against the Oklahoma City Thunder was not postponed.

    But Embiid took part in practice on Tuesday and Rivers is bracing for the 76ers center to make a comeback as two of the Eastern Conference's best teams meet midweek.

    "I do expect him to go," Rivers said. "He was in and out of practice today, we didn't let him do a lot of stuff, but he looked pretty good."

    Embiid – an early MVP candidate – is averaging 25.0 points, 11.5 rebounds and 2.9 assists per game for the 76ers (9-5) this season.

    The 26-year-old has relied on his jump shot even more this season but has instead taken most of them inside the arc.

    Embiid – whose 76ers are 9-2 when he plays and 0-3 without him this term – has seen his jump shot field-goal percentage rise 8.2 per cent to 45.6 per cent in 2020-21.

    The 76ers have been hampered by the coronavirus pandemic, with Philadelphia left shorthanded since Seth Curry's positive COVID-19 test on January 7.

    Philadelphia and Oklahoma City were scheduled to meet at Chesapeake Energy Arena on Sunday, but the 76ers did not have the required eight players available because of contact tracing with the team.

    But the 76ers – minus Curry – were back to full strength for Tuesday's practice, much to the delight of Rivers.

    "It was nice," said Rivers. "We're not one of those teams that have the luxury of being together for several years. We have so many new bodies, a new system, new coach, everything.

    "To have all those games and no practice and then to have all those guys out, and even your shoot arounds are not what you expect them to be, it absolutely has affected us."

    Rivers added: "Even on a couple of days we have a somewhat of a practice, we didn't have enough guys to practice. Today was a day we had enough guys, we can change, we can sub in practice and put different units on the floor."

  • Kyrie Irving ready for Nets return against Cavaliers, relishing Harden link-up Kyrie Irving ready for Nets return against Cavaliers, relishing Harden link-up

    Kyrie Irving is ready to play again and looks set to line up for the Brooklyn Nets on Wednesday after a run of seven missed games.

    The six-time All-Star has been absent for personal reasons and received a hefty punishment for breaching NBA health and safety protocols while away from the team.

    That was imposed after Irving was filmed apparently attending a large birthday gathering while not wearing a mask.

    But Irving confirmed on Tuesday he is back in training with the team, putting him in line to face the Cleveland Cavaliers on Wednesday evening.

    Explaining his absence, Irving said on Tuesday: "There's been a lot of family and personal stuff going on, so I just want to leave it at that."

    Coach Steve Nash said: "I expect him to play tomorrow. It's great to have Kyrie back in the building. We've missed him and I'm excited to get him back out on the floor."

    Irving was fined $50,000 by the NBA and docked over $800,000 in salary for the two games he missed while ordered into quarantine by the league.

    He will have a notable new teammate on his return to action, with the Nets having landed James Harden from the Houston Rockets.

    Harden, an eight-time All-Star, bolsters the scoring power already in Brooklyn's ranks, with Irving averaging 27.1 points per game in his seven outings for the team this season and Kevin Durant posting 30.6 PPG in 11 appearances.

    The new arrival meets with Irving's approval.

    "I'm very excited to have James here," Irving said. "We're just moving on to the next phase of developing as a team, building some camaraderie and having fun.

    "It's just really exciting to be able to play with great players."

    He spoke of the experience that Harden brings and said: "Adding that to our locker room is going to be great for us."

    Without Irving, the Nets have won five of their past seven games to improve to 9-6 for the season.

  • McCollum out for at least four weeks as Trail Blazers suffer another injury blow McCollum out for at least four weeks as Trail Blazers suffer another injury blow

    The Portland Trail Blazers have been dealt another injury blow with shooting guard CJ McCollum ruled out for at least four weeks.

    McCollum hurt his foot during the victory over the Atlanta Hawks on Saturday and sat out Monday's game against the San Antonio Spurs, which ended in a 125-104 loss for the Trail Blazers that saw them slip to 8-6.

    Portland were already without center Jusuf Nurkic due to a right wrist fracture and he has been joined on the sidelines by McCollum.

    A statement tweeted by the Trail Blazers read: "Further imaging reveals CJ McCollum with a small hairline fracture to the lateral cuneiform in his left foot and a mid-foot sprain.

    "McCollum will wear a walking boot and be re-evaluated in four weeks."

    Prior to his injury, McCollum was performing at the highest level of his career. Through 13 games he was averaging 26.7 points and 4.8 made three-pointers per game, both of which would be career highs.

    Asked about adjusting to the losses of Nurkic and McCollum after the defeat to the Spurs, All-Star point guard Damian Lillard said: "It's tough. We've had that type of luck over the years, it's always been something.

    "But we pride ourselves on be able to adjust to that and keep our stride whatever comes our way. We trust our experience in these situations.

    "It's not always going to be perfect. When a guy goes down, or in our case two of our best players go down, the next game might not be the game where it just happens. It might be a game or two or three where you struggle and then it clicks, it might be one game or you might not miss a beat.

    "It wasn't the outcome we wanted but we're still going to believe in each other, we're still going to have a high level of accountability and I think next game we're going to be better and we should expect to be better."

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.