Aron Baynes was Detroit’s top offseason target for its frontcourt, according to Keith Langlois of Pistons.com. The Australian center signed with the Pistons in July after San Antonio chose not to extend a qualifying offer, and coach/executive Stan Van Gundy is confident that Baynes has talents he was never able to show with the Spurs because he was surrounded by so many good players. “What we saw was a real physical guy at both ends of the floor – a good, solid rebounder and an offensively skilled guy who can shoot the ball, who can post, who’s comfortable putting the ball on the floor and going to dribble handoffs and playing that way,” Van Gundy said. He added that team scouts were especially impressed with what they saw from Baynes in international play.
There’s more tonight out of Detroit:
- Newly acquired Steve Blake won’t have a defined role if Brandon Jennings is fully recovered from an Achilles injury, Langlois writes in a separate story. Blake, who ended last season with Blazers, has been traded to Brooklyn and then to Detroit during the summer. Even if Jennings returns, Blake may be able to earn playing time, based on the assessment of Van Gundy’s brother, former NBA coach and current broadcaster Jeff Van Gundy. “That’s one of the things my brother said when we talked about the trade,” Stan Van Gundy said. “He said, ‘If I had to bet, I’d say he finds a way to get on the floor no matter what.’ That’s sort of what he’s always done. He’s found a way to play.” Blake is entering the final season of the two-year contract he signed with Portland.
- Even if Jennings hadn’t gotten hurt last season, Van Gundy likely would have made the deal that brought Reggie Jackson from Oklahoma City to Detroit, contends David Mayo of MLive. Jackson offers more size at point guard, Mayo notes, and Van Gundy likes having bigger players on the perimeter. Although the Pistons may not have pursued the three-team trade without Jennings’ injury, Mayo argues that they would have accepted it, assuming it had been proposed. Jennings will become a free agent next summer when his three-year, $24MM contract expires.