Rumor: Aron Baynes expected to leave Suns in free agency
Phoenix Suns big man Aron Baynes becomes an unrestricted free agent once the 2020 free agency period begins and he’s not expected to return to the desert.
Whoa Jalen Smith is interesting for the Suns. NBA execs fully expect Aron Baynes to leave Phoenix (with New Orleans as a distinct possibility) so Smith can fill that stretch-5 role. I fully expect Monty Williams to use some double-big lineups too. Smith can stroke 3s like a wing. https://t.co/GwBxQiWtJR
— Kevin O'Connor (@KevinOConnorNBA) November 19, 2020
Aron Baynes made $5,453,280 in 2019-20. He should get a pay raise after having a sound campaign with the Suns. The 33-year-old averaged 11.5 points, 5.6 rebounds and 1.6 assists per game while shooting 48.0 percent from the field, 35.1 percent from beyond the arc and 74.7 percent from the free-throw line.
The Suns went 8-0 in the NBA bubble at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida. However, they didn’t make the playoffs in the rugged Western Conference, as the Memphis Grizzlies and Portland Trail Blazers played in the NBA’s first-ever play-in game. The Blazers won to clinch the eighth seed but lost to LeBron James, Anthony Davis and the Los Angeles Lakers in the first round of the 2020 playoffs in five games.
In 469 NBA games, Baynes has career averages of 6.0 points and 4.5 rebounds with the San Antonio Spurs, Detroit Pistons, Boston Celtics and Suns. He should be pursued by a bevy of contenders on the open market since he has improved his outside stroke and is a great rebounder.
As noted by O’Connor, though, the Suns seemed to have prepared for the departure of Baynes with the selection of Jalen Smith in the 2020 NBA Draft. It remains to be seen, however, how he’ll develop and fit alongside Deandre Ayton in the Phoenix frontcourt.