Before the Los Angeles Lakers landed LeBron James and vaulted into playoff contention, they were an entertaining, young squad giving fans hope of something greater. No story encapsulated the idea of hope more than Andre Ingram’s 10-day contract to finish the season.
Ingram, no relation to Brandon, had spent a decade toiling away in the NBA G-League to make his dreams come true. Despite comically low pay, Ingram never wavered, tutoring in math in the offseasons to help make ends meet for his family.
Ingram finally got his chance with the Lakers who signed the sharpshooter at the end of the season to give him a chance at that dream. Ingram did not disappoint. In his very first game in the NBA, the guard exploded for 19 points against the Houston Rockets, adding three blocks in a surprising display of prowess against the top team in the Western Conference. It was a magical moment for Ingram and fans of the NBA as a storybook ending to a lifelong pursuit.
But Ingram does not consider it an ending. As he told Marc Spears of The Undefeated, Ingram is working to secure a training camp invite with the Lakers:
“After the Clippers game, I was thinking, ‘How do I get into training camp next year?’ That was the thought,” Ingram said. “That is the only thought for me. … My focus is on next season. I want to stay here. That’s my goal.”
The Lakers renounced their rights to Ingram on July 1, making him an unrestricted free agent. Ingram said the hope is that the Lakers will invite him to training camp, where he could have an opportunity to play on a team now led by the NBA’s biggest star in James.
“I really would love to be a part of that,” Ingram said. “I think they will be excellent.”
Ingram said he has received some interest but no offers from the other 29 NBA teams and he has not considered playing professionally overseas. He said he is a nervous wreck over his free agency and he has told his agent to focus on getting him back to the Lakers.
The Lakers currently have 14 players on the full roster and two on two-way contracts, giving them 16 of their 17 allowable players for the NBA season. It’s possible that they leave the final roster spot open to a competition in training camp when a total of 20 players can be invited.
It’s not clear what Ingram’s odds are and at 32 years old, he’s not exactly a favorite to make the roster. But we’ve already seen that Ingram has a knack for surprising us. Perhaps LeBron will be okay coming off the bench for the real King of LA.