The Los Angeles Lakers made Brandon Ingram the latest piece of the young core expected to return the team to its former greatness when they took him second overall in the 2016 NBA Draft.
Despite the lofty expectations for Ingram eventually, especially after his performance in the Lakers’ Summer League finale, Ingram still has yet to sign his rookie deal.
According to Bobby Marks of The Vertical, Ingram is one of only three first-round picks who have yet to sign their contracts:
Still 3 rookie scale contracts (not players stashed) unsigned; Brandon Ingram (LAL), Thon Maker (MIL) and Domantas Sabonis (OKC).
— Bobby Marks (@BobbyMarks42) July 29, 2016
That list, however, quickly dwindled to only two as Shams Charania of The Vertical reported that Thon Maker is set to sign his rookie deal with the Bucks:
Vertical Sources: Bucks will sign Thon Maker, 10th pick, to four-year rookie deal today; second rounder Malcolm Brogdon on three-year deal.
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) July 30, 2016
Ingram not signing his deal is no cause for concern. It has been reported that the Lakers are simply conserving their salary cap space in case some beneficial deal becomes available. The Lakers reportedly have an unnamed trade target and in addition to Ingram, both Tarik Black and Marcelo Huertas have yet to sign their deals either.
With the rookie scale, there is very little wiggle room for Ingram and his agent to negotiate as the most Ingram can make is 120 percent of the scale. The maximum Ingram can make is just under $24 million over four years.
It is only a matter of time before Ingram signs his deal, but the Lakers are smart in keeping their options open before having the players officially sign. When the Lakers traded for Jeremy Lin, the draft pick they received in the deal was used to take Larry Nance Jr. so good things can come from holding off.