Joe Ingles of the Utah Jazz clarified some comments he made several months ago about potentially retiring from the NBA due to the coronavirus.
The Utah Jazz appeared to be dark horse contenders if the NBA were to resume play this season, but Joe Ingles provided Jazz fans with a scare recently, having seemingly almost lost a key piece to the rotation to retirement.
Several months ago, the veteran sharpshooter stated that he would rather retire than play another game to protect his family from the ongoing coronavirus. Per Sam Amick of The Athletic (subscription required), Ingles would be content with life if he had to retire today, as he said on the Tampering podcast.
“If you had to tell me that you could never play again to protect Jacob from this, I would walk away, fly to Australia and never play another game in my life and be very content with it. I could walk out of this gym now, in the clothes I’m in, and go to the airport. I would have zero issues (with that choice) because I wouldn’t want to put my family through that. I don’t want to put Jacob through that. I don’t want to put his sister (Milla) through that, and I definitely don’t want to put his mother through that. So it’s really hard.”
Ingles also stated that his son, Jacob, was more at risk to the virus because of his weakened immune system. The forward would not become a free agent until the 2022 offseason, but if the NBA season were to resume and Ingles called it a career, no one should question him. Some things in life are more prominent than basketball, and if Ingles would retire to protect his family, there should clearly be no argument against it.
However, as Ingles’ comments had blown up just recently with an NBA return having gained traction, he clarified his comments with this tweet on Friday:
Ingles was a part of the first coronavirus scare in the NBA when teammates Rudy Gobert and Donovan Mitchell both tested positive, which likely opened his eyes as he thankfully tested negative. With Ingles having assured that he will return if proper precautions would be met, the Utah Jazz should be fortunate.
For the Jazz, losing Joe Ingles would have added to their already problematic week. ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported on Monday the team had lost Bojan Bogdanovic for the remainder of the season due to wrist surgery, which leaves a significant hole in their offense.
The 32-year-old Ingles took a statistic step back this season because of the offseason addition of Bogdanovic as he transitioned to a primary bench role. However, with Bojan having elected to receive wrist surgery, Ingles has appeared to be the next man up. The forward started in 37 of 64 games this season, having averaged 9.8 points, 4.0 rebounds, and 5.2 assists per game as he contributed immensely for the team.
Ingles has likely earned his starting spot back if the season resumes, and would provide the team with an experienced starter in place of Bogdanovic. Had they lost both players in the span of a few days, their chances of contending may have vanished entirely.
Still, if the forward ultimately would have gone down the route of retirement in order to protect his family, there should have been no questions asked. With him having stated he will return, Utah should not get written off as contenders just yet.