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Slow-Mo Joe wants his next deal fast tracked.
When July comes and the Aussie forward becomes a restricted free agent, Joe Ingles would very much like negotiations to be simple, speedy and allow the swingman to stay in Salt Lake City.
"Everyone knows that I want to come back," he said this week. "I couldn't think of a better place to come back. Hopefully it all works out and it's a nice, quick process."
The Jazz's top priority on July 1 will be trying to re-sign All-Star Gordon Hayward. Next up, general manager Dennis Lindsey would likely address his team's point guard situation, with veteran George Hill hitting the free agent market as well.
Ingles, however, shouldn't be overlooked.
The 28-year-old entered the season planning to be a "fourth or fifth" wing on the Jazz's roster and finished the year as the team's starting two-guard, a consistent threat from behind the 3-point arc and a much improved defender whose relentlessness helped Utah win its first playoff series in seven years.
The only Jazzman to play in every game this season, he averaged 7.1 points per game and shot 44.1 percent from long range a level of growth in his game that surprised even Ingles.
"I knew I could get better at some things and be a bit more consistent," he said. "But probably not at this level."
Now his marked improvement should get him a hefty raise.
The Jazz will have a chance to match any deal Ingles signs, though they will have to carefully weigh the risks during a summer in which they face myriad personnel decisions. Hayward, Hill and Ingless will all be free agents. So will backups Shelvin Mack and Jeff Withey. Meanwhile, forward Boris Diaw and point guard Raul Neto each have team options.
"You want to win," Ingles said. "You want to be part of a winning team. Obviously the organization is committed to that. Obviously the next step is keeping that team around."
Nearly all the Jazz free agents expressed a strong desire to return next season.
• Diaw, 35, would be owed $7.5 million if the Jazz picked up his option for next season.
"I don't expect any promises," he said. "I'm just in wait-and-see mode. I'm not sweating over it. I'm not anxious, but … I liked the season I had here. I enjoyed being here, so I would like to be back."
• Withey appeared in 51 games for the Jazz, averaging 2.9 points and 2.4 rebounds in limited action backing up Rudy Gobert.
"I really like Utah. I like the fans. This organization is great. The city is great. I feel like everybody supports the Jazz and that's what every player wants, to have the city behind them and the organization behind them," he said. "We'll see what happens."
• Neto, 24, found himself going from Jazz starter last season to a frequent DNP-CD. He would be owed $1.4 million next year.
"They have a lot of decisions to make," he said. "I don't know if I'll be here. I have a team option, but I don't know how it's going to be in the summer. I hope I'm here. I'm really happy."
• Mack was in and out of coach Quin Snyder's rotation in his second season with the Jazz, but averaged 12.3 points per game while starting in place of the injured Hill during the team's second-round playoff loss to the Warriors.
"I like it here," Mack said. "I've got a good relationship with Coach Q and all the guys on the team. I can talk to everyone, go out to dinner with everyone. It's a great atmosphere. It kind of reminds me of my Butler days."
Ingles also cited his relationship with Snyder, as well as assistant coach Zach Guthrie, as a major reason for his successful season.
"When I was cut Quin was the only to believe in me and bring me in and give me a shot," he said.
So before he packed up and headed back to Australia, Ingles made sure everyone knew where he wanted to be next fall.
"Before I came here, it wasn't on my bucket list to visit," Ingles said. "But once you get here, obviously with [his wife Renae Ingles] and the kids, it was a perfect city for us."
Joe Ingles' season
2016-17 regular season stats:
Games • 82
Points • 7.1
Assists • 2.7
Rebounds • 3.2
3-point pct. • 44.1