No. 1: Brandon Ingram, New Orleans Pelicans
Is Ingram as good of a player as Lillard? No. But he’s 25 years old, locked into a much less expensive deal for two more seasons and is a better fit next to a Scoot-Shaedon backcourt.
The 6-foot-8 wing has averaged 23.7 points, 5.6 rebounds, and 5.0 assists on nearly 51 percent shooting from two-point range and 37.5 percent from three since he arrived in NOLA four seasons ago. He’s an efficient three-level scorer with playmaking skills and the size and length to slide perfectly into a wing spot alongside Jerami Grant.
Ingram would be an ideal go-to scorer and offensive hub while Henderson and Sharpe continue to develop their offensive repertoires.
By the time Scoot turns 22 and Sharpe turns 23, BI would be just 28 and heading into his NBA prime. He fits Portland’s rebuilding timeline and could perhaps even enhance it as a 10-year veteran who could help the Blazers’ young core ready itself for the postseason.
Would swapping Lillard out for a sure-thing in Ingram be a better option than waiting 5 to 7 years for draft picks to roll around that might land in the 20s? Would he be better than banking on the potential development of Nikola Jovic and Jaime Jaquez Jr., the best young prospects the Heat have to offer?