Photo cred: Mary Holt (USA Today)
With contract guarantee dates continuing to approach, the Raptors continue to trim their roster and free themselves up to make additional moves.
The team has confirmed via their Twitter account that Aron Baynes will not be returning to the team next season, and Shams Charania of The Athletic has reported that Baynes was waived from the team earlier today.
The 34 year-old Australian’s contract for $7.35 million was set to become fully guaranteed if he were on the roster past 5:00PM today. The Raptors were unable to find a trade partner for Baynes, and by waiving him now, they absolve themselves of this commitment. In addition, they will free up additional salary cap space to either absorb a contract in a trade, or perhaps pursue one of the remaining available free agents.
Baynes signed a two-year deal with the Raptors prior to the start of last season, and while he was a consummate professional throughout his tenure, he unfortunately could not find a place on the court and never quite meshed with Pascal Siakam in the starting lineup. The Raptors brought in Freddie Gillespie and Khem Birch midway through the season, and that spelled the end of Baynes’ tenure, playing sparingly down the stretch.
In his lone year with Toronto, he averaged 6.1 points and 5.2 rebounds in approximately 18.5 minutes per game. He had most recently been serving with the Australian Olympic team throughout the summer, but unfortunately had to exit the Tokyo Games early due to an off-court injury.
Despite the fit being less than ideal in Toronto, Baynes is still a strong and physical body, and he is an intelligent big man who can screen and roll to the rim. He should find his way onto an NBA roster next season, and with the right team, he has the ability to make a positive impact for his team.