Aron Baynes

International Notes: W. Hernangomez, Baynes, Loyd, Raduljica

With Spain set to face France in today’s gold medal game of the EuroBasket tournament, Willy Hernangomez is confident that his team has already exceeded expectations, writes John Rammas of Eurohoops. The Spanish squad had to overcome a double-digit deficit to rally past Germany in Friday’s semifinal round.

“It is a game which you have to enjoy. We don’t have any pressure, I think the job is already done,” Hernangomez said. “Still, we have one more step left. That ambition that we have, that characterizes us, is going to come out. We are going to give everything once more, we are going to leave everything on the floor and enjoy a final. I think it’s an incredible, unique opportunity, so we will fight for gold.”

The Pelicans’ center has been Spain’s leading scorer and rebounder in the tournament, averaging 17.6 points and 6.8 boards in eight games. He’s looking forward to the matchup with French center Rudy Gobert.

“He is a very tough player,” Hernangomez said. “The best defender in the NBA, but if you want to be one of the best centers you have to face them and accept those challenges. Let’s go for it.”

There’s more international news to pass along:

  • Aron Baynes had 14 points and six rebounds while playing more than 13 minutes in his first game with Brisbane in Australia’s National Basketball League, tweets Olgun Uluc of ESPN. The 35-year-old center, who is returning after spinal cord surgery, was on a minutes restriction in the preseason contest. Baynes already looks like the best rim protector in the NBL, Uluc adds.
  • Appearing on a Eurohoops podcast, former Raptors guard Jordan Loyd disputes Duncan Robinson‘s contention that the G League is the second-best basketball league in the world. “Maybe he’s trying to say that there’s some crazy talented guys in the G League that can really score the ball,” said Loyd, who recently signed with Monaco in the EuroLeague, “but as far as saying the league as a whole is the most talented league, I don’t agree with that.”
  • Former center Bucks and Timberwolves center Miroslav Raduljica had an unusual reason for turning down an opportunity with Crvena Zvezda in the EuroLeague, according to Ennio Terrasi Borghesan of Sportando. Raduljica opted to work as a driver for the Serbian rock band YU Grupa during its tour of the United States.

Aron Baynes To Sign With Brisbane Bullets

Veteran center Aron Baynes will make his return to basketball with the Brisbane Bullets in Australia’s National Basketball League, agent Daniel Moldovan tells Brian Windhorst of ESPN.

According to Windhorst, Baynes will sign a two-year contract that includes an NBA out. The 35-year-old also had offers on the table from teams in Europe and China, per Windhorst, but those offers wouldn’t have given him the opportunity to opt out and return to the NBA, which is his ultimate goal.

Baynes, who has nine NBA seasons under his belt, last played in the league in 2020/21, appearing in 53 games (31 starts) for the Raptors. He represented Australia in the Tokyo Olympics later that year, but suffered a major spinal cord injury after a freak fall that left him hospitalized in Japan and Australia for two months. We described that incident and Baynes’ recovery in more detail back in January.

Baynes, who was initially unable to walk following his spinal cord injury, has been engaged in a long, difficult rehabilitation process for much of 2022. He reportedly worked out for NBA teams in Las Vegas earlier this month while the Summer League was taking place.

NBA clubs figure to continue monitoring Baynes as he suits up for the Bullets in Brisbane later this year.

And-Ones: Paschall, Baynes, Summer League, Gasol

Though Greek club Panathinaikos attempted to sign free agent reserve forward Eric Paschall this summer, the team was ultimately unable to successfully recruit him overseas, per BasketNews.

Utah opted not to tender a qualifying offer to Paschall in June, allowing the 25-year-old to become an unrestricted free agent. After spending his first two seasons with the Warriors, Paschall was traded to the Jazz in the 2021 offseason.

During his first season in Utah, the 6’6″ vet out of Villanova averaged 5.8 PPG and 1.8 RPG across 12.7 MPG for the playoff-bound Jazz as a bench option, playing 12.8 MPG in 58 contests.

Here’s more from around the basketball world:

  • Former NBA champion center Aron Baynes, who has been working his way back from a spinal cord injury suffered while playing for Team Australia in the 2021 Summer Olympics, has received interest from the Brisbane Bullets of Australia’s NBL, per Ennio Terrasi Borghesan of Sportando. The 35-year-old big man last played for the Raptors during the 2020/21 NBA season. In 53 games with Toronto, including 31 starts, he averaged 6.1 PPG and 5.2 RPG. Earlier this month, Baynes put on a workout to showcase himself for interested teams in Las Vegas.
  • After a Summer League that saw No. 1 pick Paolo Banchero play just two games before being shut down by the Magic and Hawks swingman AJ Griffin, considered one of the best shooters in the 2022 draft, not play at all due to a mild foot injury, Nekias Duncan of Basketball News wonders just how much NBA teams value Summer League as an opportunity to assess young prospects. Duncan notes that the teams’ limited practice time and rosters comprising young prospects plus fringe-NBA-caliber hopefuls make for inconsistent on-court products. “I think we consult with our coaching staff, our front office and our training staff and try to figure out what the best decision is for each guy,” Cavaliers Summer League head coach Mike Gerrity told Duncan about how Cleveland doles out playing time to its various prospects.
  • As has previously been reported, former All-NBA center Marc Gasol plans to return to Spanish ACB club Basquet Girona as a player for the 2022/23 season. Thanks to its performance last season with Gasol, the team was promoted from its prior league, LEB Oro, to the upper-tier Liga ACB. As a result of this promotion, however, Gasol is now confronted with some bureaucratic red tape. Per ACB league rules, players are not allowed to both play for and work in the front office of their teams, according to Johnny Askounis of Askounis speculates that the team may decide to temporarily relieve the 37-year-old of his front office duties so that he may suit up for the season. Last year, Gasol averaged 14.5 PPG, 8.2 RPG, 2.6 APG, 1.1 SPG, and 0.7 BPG for Basquet Girona. The 6’11” big man, a former three-time All-Star and Defensive Player of the Year while with the Grizzlies, last played in the NBA during a disappointing 2020/21 season with the Lakers.

Celtics Notes: Gallinari, Brogdon, Kornet, Baynes, G. Williams

With Danilo Gallinari‘s signing now official and the trade for Malcolm Brogdon completed, the Celtics introduced their two newest additions at a press conference today. Gallinari had a circuitous route to Boston, being traded from the Hawks to the Spurs and then waiting for his release from San Antonio. He said he grew up in a family of Celtics fans and it was a “no-brainer” to join the team when the opportunity arose.

“The run they had, it was amazing to see,” Gallinari said of Boston’s journey to the NBA Finals (Twitter link from A. Sherrod Blakely of Full Court Press. “I’ve been a pretty versatile player. There’s a lot of things I can do, I can add and gel right away with the guys we have.”

Brogdon was acquired from the Pacers to provide “a true play-making guard” in Boston’s backcourt. He also cited connections to the organization, saying his grandfather was a huge fan of Bill Russell. Brogdon told reporters he’s looking forward to being on the same team with Marcus Smart.

“Bringing me here actually helps him,” Brogdon said (Twitter link from Boston basketball writer Mark Murphy). “I’m gonna push Marcus. I’m gonna embrace him, he’s gonna embrace me. I really think he and I will play well together. We have different skill sets, but we both want to win so bad it doesn’t matter.”

There’s more on the Celtics:

  • Also at the press conference, president of basketball operations Brad Stevens said the team remains in the market for another center, tweets Jay King of The Athletic. He added that the organization is “really high” on the recently re-signed Luke Kornet and has confidence that he can fill a larger role next season.
  • The Celtics checked on Aron Baynes, who is attempting an NBA comeback, but don’t plan to make an offer to the veteran big man, according to Adam Himmelsbach of The Boston Globe (Twitter link).
  • Grant Williams said Monday that he hasn’t talked to management about an extension, but he hopes something can be worked out before the October deadline, King writes in a full story. “I think both parties are hopefully mutually understanding that we want to get this thing done and make sure that we come together and have a successful next few years,” Williams said. “Because I love Boston, I love the fact that I not only get to be there and be around the team that I’m with, cause I have great relationships with the guys. But I also just love the city and being able to live there.”

Aron Baynes To Work Out For Teams Friday

Free agent center Aron Baynes, who suffered a serious injury during the Tokyo Olympics last summer, will work out for NBA teams Friday in Las Vegas, Brian Windhorst of ESPN reports.

It’s the next step in a remarkable recovery by the 35-year-old Baynes. He suffered a spinal cord injury after a freak fall while playing for the Australian national team.

As he revealed in January, Baynes ran to the bathroom between the third and fourth quarters of Australia’s game against Italy but didn’t return, prompting a concerned staff member to look for him. That staffer found Baynes in the locker room near the bathroom, sprawled on the floor with blood on his uniform and two puncture marks in his upper arm (possibly caused by two towel hooks on the wall).

Baynes, who had landed on his head and neck after slipping off the rim during a dunk attempt in warmups three days earlier, may have hit his head again when he fell on his way to the bathroom. He was unable to stand up or walk under his own power and was quickly rushed to a Japanese hospital, where he stayed for the rest of Australia’s Olympic run, worried that he might be paralyzed. Scans showed internal bleeding was putting pressure on his spine.

Baynes was in hospitals in Tokyo and Brisbane for nearly two months last summer as he learned to walk again, according to Windhorst. He began playing basketball again in January after regaining his strength through daily physical therapy.

Baynes has played nine seasons in the NBA and averaged 6.1 PPG and 5.2 RPG with the Raptors during the 2020/21 season.

Aron Baynes Discusses Health Scare, Hopes To Return To NBA Next Season

Back in August, a report indicated that center Aron Baynes had sustained a serious neck injury and was in jeopardy of missing the entire 2021/22 season.

That report provided a few details on Baynes’ status — the injury apparently occurred during one of Australia’s Olympic contests in Japan and got worse after he slipped and fell in the team bathroom. However, additional details were scarce, and it has been nearly six months since we’d heard anything more about Baynes’ condition.

For the first time, Baynes has opened up about his situation, speaking to Brian Windhorst of ESPN about his nightmarish experience in Tokyo and his long recovery process.

As Windhorst details, Baynes ran to the bathroom between the third and fourth quarters of Australia’s game against Italy, but didn’t return, prompting a concerned staff member to look for him. That staffer found Baynes in the locker room near the bathroom, sprawled on the floor with blood on his uniform and two puncture marks in his upper arm (possibly caused by two towel hooks on the wall).

Baynes, who had landed on his head and neck after slipping off the rim during a dunk attempt in warmups three days earlier, may have hit his head again when he fell on his way to the bathroom. He was unable to stand up or walk under his own power and was quickly rushed to a Japanese hospital, where he stayed for the rest of Australia’s Olympic run, worried that he might be paralyzed.

“The loneliest time in my life was laying in that hospital, going in and out of consciousness, going over my life plan and my goals and just crying,” Baynes told Windhorst. “My uncle Don had an accident 10 years ago. He’s a quadriplegic. My family’s had first-hand experience with this going down. I was so scared.”

Baynes underwent testing and treatment in Japan, but had a hard time communicating with doctors and nurses due to the language barrier. After an MRI revealed Baynes was suffering from internal bleeding that was putting pressure on his spinal cord, his doctors in Tokyo believed he would require surgery, but an Australian neurosurgeon who had seen the condition in the past was consulted and recommended a treatment plan of medication and physical therapy in order to get the 35-year-old healthy enough to fly home to Brisbane.

After spending nearly two weeks in the Japanese hospital unable to move his limbs and dealing with nerve pain that he described as “a combination of burning, fire, knives,” Baynes was able to stand up on his own and was cleared to go home, though he had to be strapped down and anesthetized for the eight-hour flight.

Baynes was in a Brisbane hospital for another month and has been completing intense physical therapy in the months since returning from Tokyo, first relearning to walk, then to run. On Wednesday, according to Windhorst, the veteran big man picked up a basketball and took some shots for the first time since the Olympics.

Baynes, who says he’s made “a lot of progress” in the last few months, told ESPN that his goal is to return to the NBA for the 2022/23 season. His desire to make a comeback is related, in part, to the fact that referees aren’t calling as many fouls this season, which he believes favors his physical style of play.

“It looks so much more fun now. That’s how I grew up playing and I really want to get back to it,” Baynes told Windhorst. “I’ve got the want to get there and every single day I expect a lot out of everyone around me. I don’t know what the path will look like, but I’m going to give it one hell of a crack.”

For more details on Baynes’ last few months, including an account of Matthew Dellavedova posing as a doctor to visit his Australian teammate in the Tokyo hospital, be sure to check out Windhorst’s full story.

Aron Baynes Could Miss Next Season

Free agent center Aron Baynes could miss next season due to a neck injury, Shams Charania of The Athletic tweets.

Baynes, who played for the Raptors last season, has severe nerve damage in his neck and is currently in the hospital, says Charania. Baynes, a member of the Australian national team that took the bronze medal at the Olympics, initially injured his neck in a victory over Italy. He suffered a more significant injury slipping in the team bathroom.

The Raptors waived Baynes on Wednesday before his $7.35MM salary for 2021/22 would’ve become fully guaranteed.

Baynes signed a two-year contract with the Raptors during the 2020 offseason after enjoying a career year in Phoenix. He averaged 6.1 PPG and 5.2 RPG in 53 games (18.5 MPG) with Toronto and his shooting percentages (.441/.262/.707) were significantly below his career rates.

However, Baynes was expected to attract interest in the open market from teams looking to add to their frontcourt depth.

Raptors Waive Aron Baynes

The Raptors have issued a press release announcing that they’ve officially waived veteran center Aron Baynes.

The move had been expected, since Baynes’ $7.35MM salary for 2021/22 would’ve become fully guaranteed if Toronto had kept him on the roster. Instead, the Raptors will clear that money from their books, creating some additional cap flexibility for the coming season.

Baynes, who signed a two-year contract with the Raptors during the 2020 offseason after enjoying a career year in Phoenix, was never a great fit with his new team. He averaged a modest 6.1 PPG and 5.2 RPG in 53 games (18.5 MPG) and his shooting percentages (.441/.262/.707) were significantly below his career rates.

While Baynes didn’t have a great year with Toronto, he should draw interest from teams in need of frontcourt depth. He’ll likely be available at a more team-friendly rate once he clears waivers.

The Raptors, meanwhile, have now waived four players – Baynes, Rodney Hood, DeAndre’ Bembry, and Paul Watson – who were on non-guaranteed contracts this week. The club, which is still working on the terms of the Kyle Lowry sign-and-trade with Miami, will have a few bench spots to fill on its 2021/22 roster.

Raptors Waive Hood, Bembry, Watson

The Raptors have waived DeAndre’ Bembry, Rodney Hood, and Paul Watson, according to a team press release. All three players had non-guaranteed contracts for the 2021/22 season.

According to Josh Lewenberg of TSN Sports, the Raptors had always planned to waive Hood, who was acquired as part of the team’s trade of Gary Trent for Norman Powell, unless they could use his contract as filler in another trade. Lewenberg also suggests the decisions to waive Watson and Bembry indicate the team is either looking to create added cap flexibility or will simply go elsewhere with its end-of-bench roster spots.

Hood has been a productive player since being drafted 23rd in the 2014 draft by the Jazz, but staying healthy has been a challenge for the 6’7 lefty. Hood fractured his hand after coming over to Toronto, putting an early end on the least productive season of his career.

As we relayed earlier today, Hood already has a deal lined up with the Bucks, who are looking to add more shooting for next year’s playoff run.

In a separate tweet, Lewenberg reports that Toronto’s plan is to waive backup center Aron Baynes before his guarantee deadline tomorrow unless his money is needed in trades, and will retain Chris Boucher through his Sunday guarantee date.

Baynes came over as a free agent in the hopes that he would help stabilize the center position upon the departure of Serge Ibaka and Marc Gasol, but his lone year with the Raptors was a disappointment, with the 34-year-old Australian unable to carve out a role for himself. Boucher, meanwhile, has been a massive development success for the Raptors, turning into a solid rim-protector and three-point shooter in his fourth season.

Trade Rumors: Simmons, Baynes, Lakers, Cash

David Aldridge of The Athletic is the latest reporter to confirm that the Sixers‘ asking price for Ben Simmons remains “sky high.” According to Aldridge, the 76ers are seeking a minimum of two future first-round picks, two first-round pick swaps, and an All-Star level player in most of their discussions about Simmons. A handful of other reports within the last week have passed along details on what kind of packages Philadelphia sought from Toronto, San Antonio, and Golden State for Simmons.

Here are a few more trade rumors from around the NBA, with free agency about to begin:

  • The Raptors are exploring the trade market for center Aron Baynes, reports Michael Scotto of HoopsHype. Baynes has a non-guaranteed $7.35MM salary for 2021/22 and seems unlikely to return to Toronto. If the team doesn’t find a taker on the trade market, he’s a candidate to be released.
  • In an in-depth look at how the Lakers‘ acquisition of Russell Westbrook came about, ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne shares several fascinating tidbits, including the fact that Westbrook called Kawhi Leonard in 2019 to talk about playing together in Los Angeles. According to Shelburne, the Lakers had been prepared to move forward on a Buddy Hield acquisition before the opportunity to land Westbrook arose.
  • Within his recap of last week’s draft activity, John Hollinger of The Athletic provides a housekeeping notes on trades, writing that the Trail Blazers sent $2MM in cash to the Pelicans as part of their trade for the No. 43 pick, while the Thunder sent $2MM in cash to the Jazz in the Derrick Favors trade.