Magic Johnson was on ESPN Los Angeles today talking about the Lakers and of course trades came up. While he said nobody on the Lakers is “untouchable”, he did say that Brandon Ingram was the closest to that.
Magic Johnson when asked about untouchables: "Brandon (Ingram) is a guy we probably won't think about moving, ever." (On @ESPNLosAngeles).
— Serena Winters (@SerenaWinters) May 25, 2017
This is not a surprise with how the front office has spoken of Ingram in the past, but many will see this as a slight to Lakers guard D’Angelo Russell. It is important to note that Magic also said he think both Russell and Julius Randle could be all-stars.
Most of Magic’s interview was in line with what the front office has been saying since they took over last season, their plan is to develop the young players and build for long-term sustained success.
Although Brandon Ingram didn’t have the best rookie year, in fact he was objectively bad the first half of the season, you can see the tools and the ceiling. The Lakers are loaded at nearly every position with young talent and by all account Magic Johnson and Rob Pelinka plan on nurturing that talent and trying to grow them into the next great Lakers team.
It’s important to note that just because Magic doesn’t plan on trading the youth right now, that may not mean they are untouchable forever. One or two of the young guys will likely separate themselves from the pack over the next couple of years leaving one of more open to being traded for the last piece to a title team. Youth should be traded to add the final piece (think Wiggins for Love), not as a starting piece in a rebuild.