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Patrick Kinahan: Say it ain't so Joe – Jazz may trade Ingles

Utah Jazz's Joe Ingles, center, cheers as teammates Rudy Gobert (27) and Jordan Clarkson (00) and Denver Nuggets' Nikola Jokic (15) and Paul Millsap (4) walk to their benches during the second half of an NBA basketball first round playoff game Friday, Aug. 21, 2020, in Lake Buena Vista, Fla.

Utah Jazz's Joe Ingles, center, cheers as teammates Rudy Gobert (27) and Jordan Clarkson (00) and Denver Nuggets' Nikola Jokic (15) and Paul Millsap (4) walk to their benches during the second half of an NBA basketball first round playoff game Friday, Aug. 21, 2020, in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. (Ashley Landis, Associated Press)



Estimated read time: 3-4 minutes

SALT LAKE CITY — Joe Ingles hears and reads the rumors, fully aware that his name is linked to different trades the Utah Jazz could possibly make.

Nearly eight years into a fairytale-like NBA career that didn't begin until he was 27 years old, Ingles understands the business side of professional sports. But he doesn't have to like it.

And who could blame him? He and his wife, Renae, along with their three children, have carved out a great life in Utah's capital city, thousands of miles away from their native Australia.

"I'm human. I open my phone and read Twitter or whatever social media," Ingles said during his weekly appearance on the Zone Sports Network.

Speculation the Jazz might trade Ingles was rampant last summer when he was playing for the Australian national team during the Olympics in Japan. At one point, hours before the Boomers were to play Team USA in the semifinals, Ingles thought his time in Utah was history.

Ultimately, obviously, the Jazz traded Derrick Favors and held onto Ingles.

"From what I was looking at and the texts I was getting, I was like, 'Holy moly, I'm gone; I'm gone right now,'" he said. 'I'm very well aware of the business side of the game."

Summer has faded into winter, and here we are again. Numerous reports have the Jazz interested in seeking a defensive-oriented perimeter player.

Any perimeter player likely not named Donovan Mitchell or Mike Conley are potential trade candidates, but Ingles is the only player in the main rotation in a contract year. Salary cap flexibility often is a significant factor for trades.

"If it does (happen), obviously I'd be disappointed, but it's life," Ingles said. "The hardest part for me is Renae and the kids. We're comfortable as a family living here.

"I don't want to say it is what it is because it sounds like I don't care, but it's obviously not my decision. If they decide they need to do something I would be happy for them if they thought they were getting better. I do love this organization and the city. We're all here for the same reason — we're here to try to win a championship and be the first team to do it.

"If I could be a part of it, great," he continued. "If I could be a piece that helps them do that, then I'd still feel pretty good about it. I'd be disappointed that I wasn't here for it, but I'd be happy for a lot of people. Some very certain individuals I'd be happy for. The ones that traded me I wouldn't be so happy for, but it is what it is."

It's worth noting that Ingles chuckled as he said the not "so happy" part. But, remember, he's only human.

The human aspect of Ingles is the part that has endeared him forever to the Jazz fan base. Few players in franchise history have ingratiated themselves into the community in the manner he has.

Emotional on the court and affable off it, Ingles views himself as a neighbor down the street. The only difference having a job that gets played out before tens of thousands.

Ingles and his wife have done great work in the community since his son, Jacob, was diagnosed with autism a few years ago. The vulnerability they showed created a realness and a connection that most players don't have with a fan base.

And nobody has done media in the way Ingles has since midway through his rookie season, when he was buried deep on the bench. Virtually without fail, fulfilling a commitment he made, Ingles has done a weekly appearance on my morning radio show — win or lose, playing well or lousy, he always answered the phone.

Whenever it ends, be it next month before the trade deadline or down the line, Ingles has made a lasting impact on the team and the state.

"They know how I feel about being here, but it's out of my control," he said.

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