Aron Baynes’ NBA comeback attempt might just occur with his former team in the Boston Celtics.
Baynes held a workout in Las Vegas on Friday for teams around the league after missing all of last year due to a spinal cord injury. Baynes suffered the major injury when he fell in the bathroom while playing for the Australian national team in the 2021 Tokyo Olympics. The nine-year NBA veteran spent almost two months in hospitals in Tokyo and Brisbane learning how to walk again, per ESPN.
Now, Baynes, who played two seasons with the Celtics from 2017-2019, is trying to entice teams to take a shot at him, and a reunion in Boston isn’t out of the question, according to well-connected Heavy.com writer Steve Bulpett.
“I can see a fit in Boston,” a source told Bulpett. “They’ve already got (Rob) Williams and Al (Horford) and the other Williams (Grant) when they want to go smaller. They wouldn’t be asking a lot from (Baynes). He played for Brad (Stevens), so it’d be a bit different with (Ime) Udoka, but I wouldn’t see that as any problem.
“It’s just a matter of what direction Boston wants to go. I can see them waiting a bit, too. There are some bigs that could become available as other moves get made.”
Bulpett noted not only the history Baynes has with Stevens, but also the connection the 6-foot-10 center has with Udoka. Baynes’ first three seasons in the NBA came with the San Antonio Spurs, where Udoka was an assistant on Gregg Popovich’s staff at the time.
Baynes tallied 5.8 points and 5.1 assists in 17.5 minutes per game during his time with the Celtics, and if he does end up in Boston, he will look like a much different version of himself. Baynes averaged less than one 3-pointer per game during his Celtics’ tenure, but now focuses more on that area of his game. During the 2019-20 season with the Phoenix Suns, Baynes attempted 4.0 three-point attempts per game.
Bulpett quoted one scout, who was in attendance for the workout, as saying Baynes was “drilling” 3-pointers during his 40-minute workout. An NBA executive also told Bulpett that Baynes could be an asset to a team.
“He can play now,” an NBA exec told Bulpett. “I’m not sure he’s all the way back — or all the way to where he’s going to be with more time — but from what I saw today, he can help a team.”