By Ben Golliver
The Spurs officially announced the signing of center Aron Baynes on Wednesday.
Talks of a deal between player and team first surfraced in January. The Herald Sun in Australia reported that Baynes was offered a four-year contract worth $3.5 million although the Spurs did not disclose terms, per club policy.
Baynes, a native of New Zealand, is a member of the Australian national team and was playing professionally for Union Olimpija in Slovenia before signing with the Spurs.
DraftExpress.com offered this assessment of Baynes' pro prospects during his time at Washington State, where he played for four seasons from 2005 to 2009.
Baynes is a physical presence and an absolute beast at the college level. Standing a legit 6’10” and packing on 270 pounds, he is a handful on the block for most defenders. While his strength and toughness are certainly NBA caliber, the rest of his physical attributes are not. He is a little undersized for a traditional post up player and he has little athleticism to speak of. Baynes isn’t a threat in the transition game, often lumbering up the floor or trailing a break, and his leaping ability is poor. Unless he has a clear lane with space to work with, he isn’t likely to dunk the ball due to his lack of explosiveness.
The San Antonio Express-News noted in January that he will likely have a hard time finding a spot in a Spurs big man rotation that includes Tim Duncan, Tiago Splitter, Boris Diaw, DeJuan Blair and Matt Bonner.
It’s hard to imagine we’ll get much of an opportunity this season to see how accurate those comments are considering the Spurs will be gearing up for the playoffs as Baynes will be getting accustomed to simply being in the NBA. (Think jumping from the Slovenian league to the Association might be a little overwhelming?)Baynes, 26, averaged 7.5 points and 3.3 rebounds at the 2012 London Olympics; he was averaging 13.8 points and 9.8 rebounds for Union Olimpija this season.
But, trying to guess how Gregg Popovich operates is an exercise in extreme futility, so we’ll just have to wait and see what, if anything, young Baynes can contribute.