NBA Rumor: Joe Ingles Free Agency

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Joe Ingles considering a return to Australia

Utah Jazz and Boomers star Joe Ingles has hinted at a possible return to the NBL when his NBA career ends. Speaking on an NBL podcast, Ingles said he would love to end his career back where it all began, but wouldn’t be drawn on when that could be. He said ultimately it would be dictated by his family situation. “I’ve always said I would love to finish in the NBL. It’s where I started and it would be awesome to finish in front of family and friends,” Ingles said.

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The Utah Jazz announced today that the team has re-signed forward Joe Ingles to a multi-year contract. Per team policy, terms of the agreement were not released. The 29-year-old Ingles (6-8, 226, Australia) is entering his fourth NBA campaign, all with the Jazz, and his game has continued to grow and develop since his arrival in Utah. He finished the 2016-17 averaging career-highs of 7.1 points, 3.2 rebounds and 2.7 assists, while ranking third in the NBA in three-point field goal percentage (.441), in 24.1 minutes per game.

The season was a surprise, considering Ingles was told he’d be the ‘fifth wing in the rotation’, but the Utah Jazz’s injury woes proved to be a blessing in disguise for him. Even more fortuitous was the fact that he was in the midst of a contract year, turning his career season into a potential life-changer. With teams now expected to swoop for the league’s newest ‘three-point specialist’ — potentially offering up to eight figures, according to some NBA executives — the Adelaide-native has a clear preference. “I think the priority is Utah,” Ingles told foxsports.com.au. “I loved it there.”

Ingles’ newly retired wife, along with the couple’s twins, plan to move to the city of whichever team the restricted free agent signs with, and the Jazz’s investment in its players’ respective families seems to have given them a real edge. “As a family, we really liked the city,” Ingles said. “What the team does for the families — which is obviously a little unknown to the outside world — looking after Renae, which they do with all of the wives and families and girlfriends, and all the significant others, is amazing. “Obviously, I haven’t been with any other NBA teams, but the way they did that was probably second to none. It’s important for me, to know she’s looked after when we’re away for, say, 10 days.”

The wing, who had an extremely impressive 2016-17 season, is currently a restricted free agent, with the teams across the league able to give him an offer sheet, which the Utah Jazz are allowed to match. Because of his free agency status, the Jazz’s other off-season moves could ultimately dictate where Ingles ends up but his productive season could mean that teams will be willing to fork out significant sums for the 29-year-old. “He should (earn eight figures),” one NBA executive said. “The only reason it’d be less than that is if he doesn’t play the restricted game right.”

Ingles will be a restricted free agent this summer and figures to get a hefty pay raise from the $4.3 million he’s made the past two years. Which brings us back to the Clippers and Ingles’ short stint there in the 2014 preseason. Rivers was hoping nobody would claim him and that L.A. could figure out a way to re-sign him after waiving him, but the Jazz snatched him up. Ingles said he found out while at a restaurant a day or two after he found out he’d been cut.

The Clippers might have regrets about how things worked out, but Ingles doesn’t. He’s found a home and role in Utah that he quite enjoys. “It’s worked out perfectly,” Ingles said. “Obviously at the time when you first get cut, you’re pissed off and you wonder why. … It works out. These guys called, and the things that have happened have happened. There’s no hard feelings from my point of view. I think it’s worked out. It’s worked out really well.”
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