By re-signing Patty Mills and signing rookie Kyle Anderson, the San Antonio Spurs are on their way to filling up their roster for the 2014-15 season. The silver and black also came to agreement with Boris Diaw and Matt Bonner, leaving big man Aron Baynes as the only player from last year’s roster unsigned.
The Australian big man impressed head coach Gregg Popovich in the second round playoff series against the Portland Trail Blazers this past season, and proved what he can do on the court if he is given playing time. Baynes showed his strength and rebounding ability can be key for the Spurs.
San Antonio extended a qualifying offer around $1.1 million to Baynes, making him a restricted free agent. By now, contenders have solid backup big men and would not have much use for the 27-year-old. Below .500 teams can offer Baynes a longer contract, more money, or even a bigger role.
With Bonner, Jeff Ayres, Diaw, Tim Duncan and Tiago Splitter all returning for next season, it is highly likely that Baynes will be at the end of the bench playing during garbage time once again. If another team offers Baynes more money or a bigger role, it may be best for the Spurs to part ways with him.
One thing some fans may be wondering is what Baynes’ market value might be. We find this by combining win shares from both the regular season and playoffs from the past season, via the information from Basketball-Reference.com. This gives us a better look at what his money value could be for other teams and what San Antonio may spend to bring him back.
Baynes’ win shares totals 0.8 – which comes around to $1-2 million. The 27-year-old is coming off a season where he earned $788,872 and it looks like his salary will increase whether he stays in silver and black or decides to take his talents to another team.
There are several teams in the league that can offer Baynes their Bi-Annual Exception, worth just over $2 million. One of those teams is the Philadelphia 76ers, who are looking for a backup after losing center Spencer Hawes. Former Spurs assistant Brett Brown is the head coach in Philly and has history with Baynes after coaching him not only in San Antonio, but also with the Australian National Team.
With the Los Angeles Lakers losing Chris Kaman and Pau Gasol, they could also make a run at the Australian big man. They could offer Baynes a bigger role as a starter, or even a spot in the rotation as a back up center to Robert Sacre. If the Lakers decide to offer Baynes their BAE of $2.7 million and a bigger role, it may be too good for him to pass up.
Jabari Young of the San Antonio Express-News tweeted Tuesday afternoon that the Spurs still hope to retain Baynes and will match any reasonable offer.
Was told #Spurs still hope to retain Aron Baynes…he's restricted and they'll match any reasonable offer …nothing crazy tho
— Jabari Young (@jabari_young) July 15, 2014
Baynes’ best chance to return to the Spurs may be accepting the qualifying offer. However, since his play in the playoffs got the attention of Coach Pop, it is possible we could see the Big Banger in silver and black in the 2014-15 campaign. With that said – if an offer of $2 million comes in, the Baynes era in the Alamo City may come to an end.
(Stats via basketball-reference.com & BasketballInsiders.com)