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RUMOR: Lakers, other contenders hoped Suns would buy out Aron Baynes

Aron Baynes, Lakers, Suns

The Los Angeles Lakers were reportedly one of the teams who were hoping that the Phoenix Suns would buy out Aron Baynes this past summer, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic.

Suns center Aron Baynes has emerged as a cornerstone piece for Phoenix early this season, supplying defense, leadership and, yes, shot-making. Phoenix acquired Baynes on draft night, and in the weeks to come contenders such as the Lakers hoped Baynes would reach a buyout with the Suns to hit the open market, sources said.

Last season, Baynes played for the Boston Celtics, where he averaged 5.6 points and 4.7 boards. However, he is well-known for his ability to defend the painted area. He is not afraid to be physical, and that’s why the Lakers were interested in him.

The Purple and Gold needed a legitimate backup (and they still do) for Anthony Davis at the power forward slot. They usually replace him with Kyle Kuzma or Jared Dudley, but the former is more effective when he’s playing as a small forward while the latter isn’t good enough to protect the paint at this stage of his career.

However, Baynes is one of the main reasons why the Suns are currently fifth in the West standings. He’s putting up 15.0 points, 5.5 rebounds and 2.9 assists per game while shooting 57 percent from the clip and 46 percent from beyond the arc.

The Suns will likely hold on to him for the rest of the season, especially with how well he’s playing right now.

The Lakers’ top priority will always be Andre Iguodala, but it wouldn’t hurt them to look for a Plan B.