The Toronto Raptors have reached an agreement to sign free agent center Aron Baynes to a two-year, $14.3 million contract, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic. The second year of his deal includes a team option.
Baynes is a similar style of player as compared to the outgoing Marc Gasol, who signed on with the Los Angeles Lakers. The 33-year-old Australian is coming off a career year in which he averaged 11.5 points. 5.6 rebounds and 1.6 assists while being a defensively stout reserve for the Phoenix Suns. He sets robust screens, hits the three at a respectable clip, is a brick wall in the post, and is generally an easygoing player who should fit seamlessly into the Raptors’ system without much fuss.
Toronto also re-signed Chris Boucher to a two-year deal, but Baynes figures to be the starter. Baynes took four threes per game and made 35 percent of his looks last season, which should create spacing for his teammates. It remains to be seen if that was a mirage — Baynes made just one three over the first five years of his career — but he’s a serviceable center who is more reliable on a nightly basis as compared to Boucher. Their styles are also complimentary, in that Boucher is more suited to guarding the quicker stretch fives, while Baynes is still quite fleet of foot but is better off using his strength to his advantage in the post.
Most importantly, the Raptors have maintained financial flexibility for the 2021 offseason, where the Raptors are expected to chase star free agents. Baynes can either be let go, or his small salary could be used as part of a trade, which is the same case for Boucher.
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