Today the Spurs have signed Aussie Big Man Aron Baynes from Slovenian Euroleague club Union Olimpija. The signing caps off an amazing year for Baynes who after really blossoming during the second half of the Boomers Olympic campaign went on to destroy most of Europes big men before catching the eyes of numerous NBA teams.
The Spurs have had to pay out close to $400,000 to club Union Olimpija in order to release him from his Euroleague contract and reportedly have offered Baynes a $3.5 million contract over four years, the last two years being team options.
In 10 Euroleague games this season he had averaged 13.8ppg and 9.8rpg for Union Olimpija. He also played 16 games in Adriatic League where he recorded 12.4ppg and 6.8rpg. Baynes agent Daniel Moldovan stated in November that at least two western conference NBA teams had enquired about Baynes and were “keeping tabs” on the Aussie big man.
It should come as no surprise that the San Antonio Spurs, well known for their great international scouting were the ones to make the move on Baynes. The Spurs will now feature three French players, (Tony Parker, Nando De Colo and Boris Diaw) one Argentinian (Tiago Splitter), one Brazilian (Manu Ginobilli), a Canadian (Corey Joeseph) as well as Tim Duncan who was born in the Virgin Islands.
The Spurs also have a strong Australian connection with Aussie Boomers Superstar Patty Mills already on the team as well as former Australian Boomers coach Brett Brown part of the Spurs coaching staff.
Brett Brown has been a part of the team since 2002 and during his time has seen four Australians now play a role for the Spurs (Andrew Gaze, Shane Heal, Patty Mills, Aron Baynes). During that time Brown has also helped NBL stars Kirk Penney and Cedric Jackson receive try outs for the team.
Boomers Legend Andrew Gaze has come out and made it clear however that it took a lot more than just Brett Browns presence on the Spurs bench to resulted in Baynes reaching the NBA.
”My understanding is they will part with some serious cash to secure Baynes, ‘You wouldn’t bother doing that for a short-term player, they must see a need for him and want to get him into their system now.”
Baynes flourished in London under Brown’s coaching. Originally considered for the teams third/fourth sting big man behind established national team players like David Andersen, Aleks Maric and Matt Nielsen. Baynes however surprised many forming an unstoppable pick and roll combo with Matthew Dellavedova on his way to averaging 7.5ppg for the Olympic tournament.
Aron Baynes, the boy from Mareeba, Queensland will become the second Taipans Academy graduate to play in the NBA, the other being Nathan Jawai, which is an amazing achievement for the small regional basketball program.
Baynes also attended Washington State University and won a Lithuanian League championship title in 2010.