Team USA forward Jayson Tatum is looking forward to an upcoming matchup against Australia, which means going against former teammate Aron Baynes, who was traded to the Phoenix Suns in the offseason. The two former teammates spent two years with the Boston Celtics and likely matched up against one another from time to time in practice, though this would be a different scenario with both players fighting for their respective flag in the upcoming set of exhibition games in preparation for the 2019 FIBA World Cup:

“I played with Aron Baynes for two years with the Celtics and he is one of my favorite guys to play with, favorite people,” said Tatum. “So I’m excited to play against him for a change.”

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Baynes wasn’t shy of compliments for Tatum and young guard Jaylen Brown, hyping them up as stars who could break out this season, now that a bigger role is likely upon them.

The Aussie big man has a reputation as one of the most physical players in the NBA, and it’s unlikely that will change even if Tatum or Brown are in his way. Baynes recently said that Team USA could be playing with a chip on its collective shoulder after the wave of dropouts from participation, which could be true, but they will need much more than that to come out ahead in international competition.

The Americans have been working on their chemistry on and off the floor, hoping to replicate what other squads have been able to forge over the course of a few years — a tall task in itself.