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Aussies in NBA: How family made Joe Ingles' free agency an easy decision
Free agency is more often than not, an extended process involving multiple meetings, elaborate pitches, before the final decision is made.
For Joe Ingles, his decision to re-sign with the Utah Jazz was pretty much a no-brainer, and he had commented on the Jazz being a priority, even before July came around.
“I think the priority is Utah,” Ingles told Olgun Uluc of Fox Sports Australia earlier in an exclusive interview. “I loved it there.”
“As a family, we really liked the city. 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.”
“I stated pretty early that I wanted to go back, they knew I did,” Ingles confirmed with NBA Australia's Benyam Kidane at Sydney's Norths basketball camp.
“We just enjoyed it, my wife loves it there. The kids weren’t born there but they’ve pretty much had their whole lives there so far, so we knew I guess from the end of the season that we wanted to be back. We made it pretty obvious to them.”
It seemed like the Utah Jazz made the best of their meeting with Ingles, being the first team to meet with the forward in free agency.
“Once I sat down with them and listened to what they said it was a pretty obvious selection for me to not have to listen to the other teams and I don’t regret it and I won’t regret it. It all happened pretty quick.
“Free agency started on Friday night and I was done by Saturday morning, so we agreed pretty quickly and it was good.”
Again, Ingles made clear the emphasis was on family, first and foremost. Knowing the team's commitment to their players' families, and having seen it first-hand, made it easy for him to decide where his own commitment would lie.
“At the end of the day, what I do is for them and it’s going to be for them my whole life.
“Just to know that they were supported, the club looked after them unbelievably and I’ve said it before, I haven’t played for another club, I haven’t been with another club long enough to comment on other teams, but I would be surprised if there were any other clubs that do it was well as Utah do.
“Once the basketball side was sorted, everything else I knew was great, so again it was a really easy decision.”
With Gordon Hayward's departure from the Utah Jazz, Ingles' role will take a noticeable step forward. It's unclear as yet how his role will evolve in the new season, but expect him to take up a bigger share of the playmaking duties for the team.