Aaron Baynes (208 cm, Washington State’09) is rumored to be leaving Adriatic League team Union Olimpija Ljubljana from Slovenia, and move to the San Antonio Spurs in the NBA.
The Spurs would have to buy him out of his contract with Olimpija. Nobody has confirmed anything yet, but the rumors from the US are very persistent.
Aron Baynes was born in Gisborne, New Zealand, but also has an Australian passport and played for the Australian national team at the 2012 Olympic Games in London.
Aron Baynes averaged 13.8 ppg and 9.8 rpg for Olimpija in the 10 Euroleague games he played for them and also averaged 12.4 ppg and 6.8 rpg in his 16 games in the Adriatic League. Last season he played in Greece for Karos Kallitheas and the season before that in Germany for EWE Baskets Oldenburg. Aron Baynes also played for Lietuvos Rytas Vilnius from Lithuania during the 2009/2010 season.
Although Aron Baynes is a legit 208 cm (6’10) and averaged solid numbers (12.7 ppg and 7.5 rpg) with Washington State in the very strong PAC 10, he was not drafted out of college. However, Baynes did play at the Portsmouth Invitational Tournament and also in the NBA summer league in Las Vegas (with the Los Angeles Lakers) that year, but it did not result in an NBA contract. Nevertheless, the years Aron Baynes has spent as a professional in Europe has polished his game and made him a more mature player.
It is not the first time that a player under contract in Europe leaves for the NBA, but this usually happens either at the beginning, or at the end, of the season.
At the beginning some players have escape clauses in their contract which allows them to leave for the NBA when the season starts there. At the end of the season NBA teams often want to add players to their play-off roster and typically look for them in Europe among teams that did not qualify for the play offs there.
Getting a player in the middle of the season however, is a whole different story. If that is an important player for the team, then he needs to be bought out of his contract and the transfer sum needs to be substantial.