Even with Aron Baynes expected to exercise an option in his contract after this season and become a restricted free agent, the Pistons passed on offers to trade the 6-foot-10 center. Why? "You couldn't get enough of a return to make up for what we think we lose in him," Pistons president-coach Stan Van Gundy said. "And even thought we know it's about that-much-of-a-percentage we could have him back, we didn't want to give up that percentage."
Should Baynes opt out, and it's expected he does, the most the Pistons could offer him would be $11.375 million per season, an 175 percent increase on his current salary. It's believed he will be able to sign for more than that next season, especially with the NBA salary cap set to increase again for the 2017-18 season. "We have a lot of respect for him," Van Gundy said. "He's a guy that we obviously play really well with. And he's a big part of what we're doing now. We didn't want to give him up."
Aron Baynes has not informed the Detroit Pistons he intends to exercise an option in his contract and become a free agent at season's end, but it would be hardly a surprise to Stan Van Gundy. "Hardly a surprise," Van Gundy, the Pistons' president-coach, said Thursday.
"Aron Baynes is a very good player," Van Gundy said. "I shouldn't be saying anything to increase his value, but he's a very good player and if he and his agents look around at what some of those guys got who were backups -- (Bismack) Biyombo, (Ian) Mahinmi, guys like that -- and what they signed contracts for, more than double what Aron's making, it's not too hard to figure out that the guy is probably going to opt out and take his chances in the open market. He's a highly productive guy at a very reasonable salary, so that doesn't surprise at all."
Citing unnamed sources, Basketball Insiders published a story Wednesday afternoon saying the Pistons were gauging interest in backup centers Baynes and Boban Marjanovic, adding that Baynes will decline his player option for next season. Baynes told the Free Press after Wednesday night’s 118-98 victory over the New Orleans Pelicans that no decision has been made. He responded with a laugh when asked about the report. “I don’t know about that,” Baynes said. “I’m just focused on the season right now. That’s all I’m doing, just playing basketball. I have an agent. That’s the unfortunate side of basketball, but I let him do his thing. I’m just out there trying to do mine.”
You haven’t made a decision? “I definitely haven’t thought about anything yet,” he said. “It’s not even All-Star break. There’s a long way left in this season. I’m just trying to go out there and make the most of it.”
However, another player in a contract season may not return to the Pistons. “Aron [Baynes] is a really good player and I said this after the last game, we’re going to be in a difficult situation by the [CBA] rules of trying to re-sign him next summer,” Van Gundy said. “I’m supposed to downplay him, not play him up and tell you, ‘You know, that guy’s a pretty solid backup,’ but the bottom line is he’s a starting-caliber NBA center who we’re very lucky to have as a backup.”
Everything the Pistons have come to love about Baynes is what will compel competitors to steal him away next July. It’s all due to an NBA collective bargaining agreement arcana. Baynes’ side negotiated an opt-out clause following the 2016-17 season when he signed as a free agent with the Pistons in July 2015. Holding Baynes’ rights for two seasons gives the Pistons partial Bird rights – but not full Bird rights. And that difference limits them to offering Baynes – on the slam-dunk assumption that he’ll exercise his contract option – 175 percent of his 2016-17 salary, reportedly $6.5 million, or an offer no greater than $11.375 million for next year.
It doesn’t matter if the Pistons will or won’t have cap space – they won’t – so it’s not a matter of unloading other contracts to keep Baynes. They’re capped at what they can offer and Van Gundy is 99.9 percent certain he’ll get offers significantly above what they can give him. “We were criticized because we paid him too much money and now he’ll make about triple next summer and we won’t be able to re-sign him,” Van Gundy said earlier this week in New York. “Right now we could trade him to 29 teams in about five seconds at what he’s making. I don’t think we made too bad a deal.”
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.
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.
It was motivated in large measure by their look ahead to 2017 when they (a) expect Baynes to opt out, (b) question their ability to match a similarly aggressive offer sheet and (c) expect a thin crop of free-agent centers to replace Baynes, if it comes to that. “We’ve probably got more true centers than anybody in a league that’s going away from true centers, but looking at Aron’s situation – and the part that people understand is he’ll opt out, probably, based on the salaries we saw this year – and the part they don’t understand is if he opts out and because he’s only been here two years, we’re limited in how far we can go in our offer. It wasn’t a matter of you don’t want to pay him or you don’t think he’s worth it. It’s that we’re limited.”
August 8, 2022 | 3:18 am EDT Update
Hoop Central: Paolo’s IG story. ‘Lol unfollowed me on the gram n everything it must be personal huh? That’s fine jus make sure y guard up next time n stop sending doubles family.
“You Tried To Flex That #1 Pick Shit On Me When I Been Rooting For You When You Was A Kid Asking To Rebound For Me @paolo5 Don’t Get On This Internet Saying Nothing… You Changed From The Humble Kid You Always Was And I Stand On Real Shit Boy And YOU KNOW!!!!!!!! You Made It And Changed And I Lost All Respect!!” “ Stay Humble. This Life You In Now Is REAL And Ain’t No Joke!!! I STILL WANNA SEE YOU WIN Cause That’s WHO I AM!!!”
ClutchPoints: “It’s a man’s league. He a little boy, he’s too soft.” Dejounte Murray calls Paolo a “little boy” and “soft” ￼ (via @HomeTeamHoops )
Playmaker: This year’s #1 pick, Paolo Banchero, got schooled by Dejounte Murray at #ZekeEnd @RockyPadila
Harrison Wind: Former Nugget Brandon Goodwin threw a punch at Bones Hyland at a Pro-Am today in Atlanta.
To recall back in 2019, Holmgren became the talk of social media after he crossed Curry and dunked the ball on him. The then-high school big man basically used Steph’s own move on him. Now, he just made it to the NBA, with the Oklahoma City Thunder using their second overall pick on him. Curry couldn’t be any prouder of what several of his camp’s alumni have accomplished, including Holmgren. While he will never forget how Chet embarrassed him, he said it’s “dope” that they are now going to face each other in the big boys’ league. “Chet hit me with my own move, little double behind the back … he finished it differently than I would though, I would have just pulled up from 3, he went to the basket and dunked on another dude. It’s pretty dope that he’s now in the league as the No. 2 pick,” Curry explained, per Bleacher Report.
Maxey thrived in the new role. He averaged 18.7 points and shot 48% from deep playing next to Harden. Now that the two have been able to work out in the summer, the young guard out of Kentucky is ready to build more with The Beard. “It’s gonna be great,” said Maxey at his 1% skills camp on Saturday. “Chemistry is everything. We only played like 20-something games together so for us to be able to have a whole training camp and an entire season together, it’s gonna be nothing but good things for us and a positive outcome.”