SALT LAKE CITY – For 15 hours, Joe Ingles had no one to talk to. He wondered if any other teams would call; if he was even good enough to play in the NBA; if the dream was dead.
His wife, Renae, was in the air on her way from Australia to Los Angeles and therefore shut off from the world when the Clippers lost their final preseason game in 2014 against Portland, and game in which her husband was scoreless in five minutes.
Joe Ingles had been fighting for the Clippers’ final roster spot, and the team planned to keep him, but an injury to Jordan Farmar left the Clippers without anyone to back up Chris Paul.
The 15th roster spot came down to a decision between Ingles and point guard Jared Cunningham. The Clippers addressed their most pressing need.
When Rivers summoned him, Ingles thought, “May as well go ahead and grab my stuff out of my locker now.”
The Clippers were the team that brought Ingles to the NBA. They let him go. Less than three years later, they’re having to contend with him in a best-of-7 playoff series that is tied, 1-1.
When Renae landed the next day and joined her husband at their hotel in Marina del Rey, he told her, “Hey babe, don’t have a job. What do you want to do?”
Ingles shared the story Thursday inside the Utah Jazz practice facility, nestled between two mountain ranges on the edge of Salt Lake City. He sat in a cushioned chair, kicked off his sneakers and reflected on his brief time with the Clippers: dinners out with Blake Griffin, riding the bus with DeAndre Jordan, running into Glen “Big Baby” Davis at the grocery store after being waived and getting wrapped into a massive hug.
“I was coming to make that team and they knew I didn’t want to go back to Europe and I was there to stay,” he said. “I was planning on staying.”
Ingles said he had a “gut feeling” that his time was up when Farmar went down, but he still hoped Rivers would find a way to keep him, maybe use Jamal Crawford more as an emergency point guard.
“When you first get cut,” he…