The Utah Jazz‘s recent slide has turned into a full-blown avalanche following Joe Ingles’ injury during Sunday night’s game against the Minnesota Timberwolves. They now face more significant challenges in future efforts to swing a trade.
Utah had already lost 10 of its last 12 entering the weekend tilt with the T-wolves. The Jazz could not stop the skid in Minnesota. But Ingles’ injury is an even more devastating blow, as it robs the franchise of a player who is critically important both to the current squad and as an asset ahead of the Feb. 10 NBA trade deadline.
The Jazz are desperate to make a move. Doing so could become that much harder with Ingles on the shelf.
Joe Ingles sustained a knee injury during the Jazz’s loss to the Timberwolves
Joe Ingles saw a lane to the basket and attacked the heart of the Timberwolves defense. But as he drove, his knee buckled. The Australian point forward crumpled to the ground, with teammates immediately signaling for attention.
The Jazz fear the worst for Ingles.
Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN reported Utah believes that the 34-year-old suffered a “significant” knee injury. He will undergo an MRI on Monday in Salt Lake City.
Ingles has long been one of the more underrated bench players in the NBA. His shooting efficiency is well down this season, as he converted just 34.7% of his 3-pointers after making a whopping 45% of his triples during the 2020-21 campaign. Still, he tallied 3.5 assists, and the Jazz racked up 1.02 points per possession with him as the ball-handler in pick-and-roll, per NBA.com. That’s one of the best marks in the league.
Ingles’ shooting, court vision, and basketball IQ made him an asset to the current Jazz roster. His defensive efforts were significant as well, as Utah gave up nearly seven fewer points per 100 possessions with him on the floor.
The Jazz lost a two-way energizer bunny on Sunday. They might also have lost one of their few trade assets.
Ingles is one of the Jazz’s only feasible assets ahead of the NBA trade deadline
With Joe Ingles possibly done for the season, will he still have value before the NBA trade deadline?
The Jazz have reportedly been hot in pursuit of versatile wing players, including coveted Detroit Pistons forward Jerami Grant. But they do not have many trade chips to play around with in the next week-plus.
Most of Utah’s core is under contract for multiple seasons. Ingles, Hassan Whiteside, Eric Paschall, and Jarrell Brantley are among those on expiring deals. But the latter two players have little to zero value and minimal salaries, while Whiteside is an important depth piece in the frontcourt.
Ingles is a bit of a swing piece. His $13 million salary makes him more tradable, but only non-competitive teams are likely to take that deal on, and they’re sure to demand draft capital, an area where the Jazz are pretty limited.
The next 11 days are sure to challenge Utah’s front office.
A critical juncture
Nearly two months ago, the Jazz had the enviable position of being an NBA Finals contender that nobody wanted to discuss. Now, however, they face an uncertain future.
After a 28-10 start, Utah has plunged to 30-21. The offense has become stagnant over the course of this five-game losing streak, and team defense remains an issue. Now, injuries have robbed the Jazz of a steadying point forward in Ingles
In some ways, Ingles’ injury might make the choice to trade him that much more straightforward for Utah. But the Jazz need to find suitors first, which could prove quite tricky.
The Jazz haven’t been able to hit the right notes as of late. They must find a way to turn things around and make moves at the NBA trade deadline, though they’ll likely have to do so without Ingles.
Stats courtesy of Basketball Reference unless otherwise noted.