Aaron McMann: Certaines are few and far between in spor…

Aaron McMann: Certaines are few and far between in sports, particularly basketball, but barring injury or some unforeseen circumstance that I can’t come up with at this time, Aron Baynes will opt out of his contract over the summer. He would be a fool not to. Baynes signed a three-year, $20 million contract with the Pistons two summers ago, good money for a backup center. But that was before the salary cap explosion last summer, with another increase coming next, and backup big men were pulling in contracts for $15-18 million a season. In fact, Pistons president-coach Stan Van Gundy said pregame Wednesday in New York Baynes could command as much as $18 million. If that’s the case, the Pistons simply cannot afford him.

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Baynes will go back to his normal position in the post when he comes to training camp this month. It could be his last season with the Pistons. He’s under contract to make $6.5 million this year and has an early termination option on his contract for 2017-18. Because the Pistons might not have enough money to keep the veteran center if he were to exercise his option and become a free agent, the team went out and signed 7-foot-3 Boban Marjanovic as insurance.
“We’re limited in what we can do with Aron next year,” Van Gundy said. “Two things happen: No.1, by rule, if Aron does opt out, we’re limited in how much we can offer him, by rule, because he leaves in two years. There’s only a certain percentage of his salary we’re allowed to offer him, and it comes in under $12 million a year. If you look at where the prices on big guys went this year on guys like Bismack Biyombo and Ian Mahinmi, that’s far beyond that $12 million. There could be a possible scenario where we wouldn’t be able to compete to keep him.
Storyline: Aron Baynes Free Agency
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Goran Dragic talked to the Slovenian press before Saturday’s prep game against Montenegro and explained his motivation about his return to the Slovenian national team. “I predict the semi-finals, but then anything is possible”, said a smiling Dragic, who is ready to defend the title he won together with a young Luka Doncic back in 2017. However, after five years things are different and Dragic understands it: “In my opinion, I will play a little less minutes, it will not be at that level. I don’t know how much I played, 36 minutes per game? Everything will depend on how I feel. The role will definitely be different. I was Batman, but now I’ll be Robin. The most important thing will be to make sure we have good chemistry and be a leader on the court and lift guys up when it’s most difficult. My role remains the same, Luka’s may have changed a bit more, but I believe that everyone has their own role in the national team and that there will be no problems. We all understand each other, we are one big team, and that’s why we can make a good result. That chemistry is what other teams don’t have.”
Dragic had also to convince the Chicago Bulls to let him play, something that was not ideal for them: “When I had a medical exam with Chicago and sat down with them, they said I’d rather not play. I said I’d rather and in the end it’s the player who decides. I had to go to Chicago, undergo a medical examination and everything else. When you go to a medical examination, you always wait for the results, because you never know what can happen”.