Brandon Ingram is the last 1st round pick from the 2016 NBA draft who has yet to sign his rookie contract. That, though, will change on Tuesday according to Shams Charania of The Vertical:
Wait is over for Brandon Ingram: The Los Angeles Lakers will sign the No. 2 overall pick on Tuesday, sources tell The Vertical.
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) August 23, 2016
While there was a line of reasoning that the Lakers might be holding off on signing Ingram in order to include him in a trade, the more likely scenario was almost always about maximizing the team’s cap space.
As we have discussed in the past, rookie scale contracts actually operate on a scale. Rookies can sign for anywhere between 80% to 120% of their slotted rookie salary amount — with most rookies getting deals at the top of that range. Meanwhile, their cap hit is 100% of that slotted amount. The difference between those amounts is money the Lakers could use to its advantage in signing a free agent or when working a trade.
Now that the Lakers have signed Yi Jianlian to a contract worth as much as $8 million, the Lakers have used up their cap space and there is no reason to hold off on getting Ingram signed. Related, I expect the Lakers will also make the Tarik Black signing official shortly.
Once Ingram (and Black) put pen to paper, the only pending decision will be tied to Nick Young’s future. I have long believed Young will not be on the opening day roster — something that I am not alone on. The Lakers have until the end of August to waive Young using the stretch provision, but can cut ties with him by simply waiving him at any point during the year. Ideally, they would like to trade him, but I have always viewed that as less likely simply because Young has such little value on the market (he may actually have what I often call “negative” trade value where teams actually want a sweetner in order to take on his deal).
In any event, Young’s time will come but Ingram’s time looks to be now. As the #2 overall pick, he is viewed as a future cornerstone player who has excellent two-way potential. And while getting him signed was always pretty much a formality, it is great news to hear it will now get done. The season cannot get here soon enough.