NBA Rumor: Aron Baynes Free Agency

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According to league sources, several playoff teams are hoping to lure him to their franchise. They see the value in having someone like Baynes to come in and just accept whatever role is thrown at him. The Suns also have plenty of interest in bringing him back, according to league sources. Whether that’s a starting position or as a key backup, Baynes could command the mid-level exception or not far from it. The taxpayer MLE should be somewhere in that $6 million to $6.5 million range.

You are a free agent. Everything has been so truncated for the offseason, how does that change anything for you? Obviously things have to be sped up in terms of the process, but how do you approach that? How does your representation approach that? How do you approach that whirlwind? Aron Baynes: “It’s like you said — whirlwind. It’s going to be helter-skelter. It’s gonna be about two weeks from the draft until training camp. It’s going to be a unique situation and hopefully it’s going to be a good situation for all the players involved. Hopefully guys are able to go out there, find the right situation, and be put in the right situation. For myself, that’s something my team has been able to do for me. Always find a good situation for me to go to. I’ve enjoyed every single step along my career.

Aron Baynes: “Between us and whatever comes our way, we can find the right situation. Until then, I’m just going to enjoy here in Phoenix, being here with the family, and working out every single day with the guys here that I’ve built a solid relationship with. I enjoy going to battle with these guys. Until free agency opens, I’m just going to continue in my day-to-day routine and let the agent and everyone else involved do their thing. If you’re going to focus on it too much, you’re going to go crazy. Especially knowing how quickly everything’s probably going to happen this year.”

“Everything’s so fluid right now,” Baynes said of his free agency. “That’s why you’ve got to lean on people you trust. For me, it’s my agent, and I know that’s the business side of basketball. I’ve been through it too many times to tie anything emotional to it, as much as you want to. You do have these connections throughout basketball and throughout the teams you’ve played for and where you’ve gone and also the outlook for your family. Everything weighs in to it.

Aron Baynes sounds like a guy that wants to come back next season. The Australian chatted with CLNS’ very own Adam Kaufman on this week’s Celtics Beat. “I love Boston. Boston’s been great to me. My family is comfortable here” said the Celtics big man. “I have to have a chat with Danny and Brad in the next couple of weeks. Want to see what their thoughts are as well. If everything lines up I’d still love to come back.” “My heart is still in this…I want to add to the Celtics legacy,” he concluded.

The Boston Celtics have re-signed center Aron Baynes, the team announced today. Per team policy, terms of the deal were not disclosed. Baynes, 31, started in 67 of his 81 games played during his first season with the Celtics in 2017-18, averaging 6.0 points (47.1% FG, 75.6% FT) and 5.4 rebounds in 18.3 minutes. He anchored the Celtics league-leading defense, which allowed just 97.6 points per 100 possessions with him on the court (3rd best among players who played in half of their team’s games).

Q: You’ve said you would like to see Aron Baynes and Marcus Smart return. If they leave, what are the most irreplaceable qualities those guys brought to the team? Brad STEVENS: We want them back for a number of reasons. Their energy is contagious, and it’s contagious every day. I tell the story all the time about (how) Aron Baynes races people in warmups. And he just brings an infectiousness that I can’t describe. And I think, like, my thoughts of this team are him and Marcus running down the court flying as everybody’s supposed to be doing high knees and warming up. Marcus has been like that for the last four years in everything that he’s done. So I think it’s their infectiousness. And I think with that comes a real reliability that is consistently shown on both ends of the court and certainly their prep. But on the court they do a lot of things that lead to winning — some that show up in a box score and many others that don’t.

From an individual basis, Baynes has grown more in Boston than he has with any other franchise — San Antonio included. Yes, he won a title with the Spurs in 2014, but Baynes’ role on that team was significantly different, and far less impactful, than what he did in Boston. And that is in part why, according to multiple league sources, Baynes is expected to return to Boston next season. Following the player’s exit interviews, Baynes made no secret about wanting to be back. And the Celtics’ brass has been clear about their intentions of bringing him back in the fold.

Van Gundy said that Baynes worked out at the Pistons practice facility on Tuesday and the two spoke about the situation. He didn’t close the door on possibly getting the reserve center back, including using Baynes early Bird rights to increase the offer to around $11.3 million. “There are a lot of scenarios where we can bring Aron back so that’s not a done deal, but we knew the opt-out was coming,” Van Gundy said. “Right now on our salary structure, if you look at where our roster is, we can’t pay him that right now and be under the tax. “Things change as the summer goes on, but there are scenarios where he could be back. But right now, some things would have to happen.”

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.”

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.”

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.

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.

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John Wall: 'They thought I was done'

“I just wish I would have known up front and not have to beat around the bush to figure things out. That’s just my motivation there. They thought I was done. Basically, that’s how I feel. This is my opportunity to show them that I’m not done. But the most important thing for me is get the win. I don’t care how many numbers I have, it’s about getting the win. That’s the most important thing because if I get 40 and then we lose, the trade don’t look as bad from their aspect because they beat us that one game they did play us. So, my ultimate goal is to try to get a win for my team tomorrow.”
Well, that’s going to be hard to imagine once you hear his extended thoughts on playing the Wizards on Tuesday, which he shared with NBC Sports Washington’s Chris Miller. Now with the Rockets, Wall admitted facing the Wizards is personal after how his exit was handled, and that he is out for revenge. “Just seeing everybody that’s over there, a lot of people that’s on that side that probably didn’t believe I could come back to be the person I am. And probably some people that had a little say so into me being traded,” Wall told Miller. “I feel like it was a whole process and it wasn’t just something that happened overnight. I think this was in the works. That’s my motivation. Who wouldn’t want to beat the team that traded them and felt like I was done?”
“Most importantly, all I really wanted from the start of all of it was just to be told the truth. That’s the most important thing and what made it so hard for me to understand what was going on because I wasn’t told the truth. I understand it’s a business and things go on and people move on and you get traded, organizations in different ways. When I heard the rumors, I called and asked are these true or are these something not to worry about? From that day forward, all I heard was ‘no, those rumors aren’t true, don’t worry about it.’ In all reality, it was true,” Wall said.