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Joe Ingles On Joining The Blazers

The Australian opens up about the move.

NBA: Portland Trail Blazers at Utah Jazz Chris Nicoll-USA TODAY Sports

Ahead of the matchup against the Utah Jazz, Joe Ingles sat down to talk about the trade that brought him to the Portland Trail Blazers with team insider Casey Holdahl. According to Ingles, the trade came as something of a surprise.

Was probably still a little shocked from it all. Obviously knew there was a chance (of being traded) but, like I said a couple times, still didn’t believe it would happen. Probably for my own self, just obviously being here so long, and saying that, obviously knew it was a good chance. I guess just happy that the Trail Blazers were the team that traded for me and things so far have been really positive and the conversations, obviously unbelievable supportive with what I’ve been going through. To go to an organization that I guess I never thought I would be at — or 28 others ones as well — but then to come in and be supported, obviously they’re letting me stay here in Utah to rehab while my kids are in school and all that.

Ingles says the team has made it as easy as possible for him as he recovers from his surgery to repair his left ACL.

So they’ve set up the PT for me and really made it very easy for me to be able to do my rehab here, so very thankful for that. Just the conversations with Coach and with Dame and other players, the medical team and all that, it’s just been a really positive situation. Obviously coming into free agency with half a knee, it will be interesting, but like I said, I’m really glad it was Portland. The conversations and such have been really good so far.

After talking with Damian Lillard, Ingles is looking forward to getting to play with him.

Real brief and general obviously, just talking about basketball really. Just basketball talk and what they’re trying to do as an organization, where he sees the team going forward from here. So really exciting for me to hear that from him and, from my point of view, to hopefully be a part of it, try and help him when I can actually run again. But I think I can. Playing against him for seven, eight year — I think last year or the year before he averaged like 52 on us or something for the four or five games, however many times you play — to be on the other side of it and to be a teammate with him when I can hopefully get out there and hopefully, if I’m back here next year. It’s really exciting, some of the young guys that they’ve got now playing and to be around Eli (Hughes) a little bit more, just an exciting, young group that they’ve got now. But obviously a lot of flexibility in the summer as well. Excited to kind of see how it plays out.

Despite his impending free agency, Ingles is committed to Portland.

Like I said, it’s been a very, very good experience so far. Just talking to Renae, my wife, over the last few weeks about it, I almost feel like I owe Portland my best. They’ve bought in on me, obviously, being here now with everything off the court they’ve set up and helped with, head athletic trainer Jess (Cohen) coming to Chicago to do my surgery with me, make sure everything was good and spending a few days to make sure I got out. From top to bottom, I haven’t been around much, I’ve obviously been (in Salt Lake City) but I honestly feel like I’ve got to give them a chance. It would be very unfair of me, I think, for them to kind of buy in on me for now and then for me to walk away at the end of the year like ‘Thanks for getting my surgery and my PT sorted, I’m going to leave you here!’ Obviously there’s two ways to that, they’re going to have conversations.

My rehab this whole summer is going to be in Portland. If I can keep progressing and figuring it out — again, this is new for me, this whole surgery and rehab — so learning on the fly of where I’m supposed to be at two weeks post (surgery) or a month post, three months post. It’s a bit of a whirlwind these last few months, especially the last couple weeks, but like I said, really excited to be here and be able to see the guys tonight. I’ll head out to Portland for that homestretch of five or six games, whatever it is, at the end of March I think it is. So I’ll go out there then, spend some time with everybody in Portland, which I think will be good for me, I think it will be good for them. I obviously think like, if I was still on the other end a few doors down, I think regardless of if I’m playing, I think I could be an asset to help these young guys, especially now. Excited about the future, I haven’t been a free agent since my second year really. I think everyone knew I was always going to just keep re-signing (with the Jazz) as long as it was. Excited about what’s coming up.

You can read the entire interview with Ingles here.