The Utah Jazz are heading into one of their most important Free Agency periods in franchise history. Over the last seven seasons they have been nurturing The Precious, as he was their only lottery pick (thanks New York Knicks) whom they gave a regular starting spot to and regular developmental minutes from an early age. The Precious, Gordon Hayward (Government Name), is an unrestricted free agent this July. And some feel as though he is the fulcrum for this franchise at the moment. The one time All-Star led the team in scoring and hit for 40 once and 30 twice in the NBA Playoffs (all losses by the way). And this July he could leave the Utah Jazz.
But this post isn’t about him.
It’s about Joe Ingles. Joe Ingles defended the other teams’ best perimeter threats last year in the playoffs having to guard everyone from Chris Paul, Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, J.J. Redick, and Kevin Durant. At times he even switched onto power forwards. And he did this while still doing enough (steals, rebounds, assists, some threes) on the other end of the floor. Regardless of what Hayward decides to do, Utah needs to retain the Australian Swiss Army knife. (Wow, that’s a bad phrase)
And they intend to. Veteran reporter and cap guru Keith Smith tweeted today:
The Utah Jazz have tendered Joe Ingles a Qualifying Offer. He will now be a restricted free agent.— Keith Smith (@KeithSmithNBA) June 27, 2017
This is great news. It gives Dennis Lindsey the first right to refusal here. They can match any offer he gets, and probably will. For what it is worth the QO is pretty cheap and not the hugest cap hit in the world while they look for other players in free agency themselves. According to Basketball-Insiders the Qualifying Offer is for only $2,687,500 (USD). A little under $3M is going to be LESS than the money the team pays rookie 1st rounders Donovan Mitchell and Tony Bradley combined.
And the Jazz brass have stated that they do intend to match for Ingles - who is probably going to fetch an eight digit contract on the open market. The third year man earned it. He shot 44% from deep, third best in the NBA last season. And he did it while taking nearly 62% of all of his shots from downtown. Ingles’ ability to handle the ball, defend almost anyone, play help defense, make the extra pass, and space the floor means he’s not just a fit of Quin Snyder’s game plan - he’s a fixture.
Also he made half a million in his rookie year. He’s due for a raise. The Utah Jazz will give him one.