By Tommy Matthews

Free agency doesn’t start until June 30, but the Sixers got some good news yesterday.

The New Orleans Pelicans don’t want to pay Brandon Ingram, reports Christian Clark of the Times-Picyune, echoing his and other previous reports.

Ingram is entering the final year of his contract at $36 million for next season and is eligible for a four-year, $208 million max extension — $52 million a year:

The Pelicans value Ingram’s talent and his down-to-earth personality, but as The Times-Picayune reported in May, the team does not have a willingness to pay him a contract worth $52 million in average annual value. That leaves the Pelicans with three options: sign Ingram to an extension at his below maximum-value number; go into the 2024-25 season with Ingram on an expiring contract; or move Ingram elsewhere.

Ingram is a quality shot creator who averaged 20.8 points and 5.7 assists a game last season while shooting 35.5% from 3. He’s also got a long history of injuries and not returning quickly from them, last season’s 64 games was the most he’s played since his rookie season (to be fair, he played 62 and 61 in the two 72-game COVID shortened seasons).

Does any team want to pay Ingram the max, or will he get something closer to $40 million, closer to what he will make this season? Would the Pelicans be willing to keep him at that number? At age 26, Ingram should be entering his prime.

One way or another, expect a lot of Ingram rumors this offseason, he will be at the center of whatever happens in New Orleans.

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