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Suns’ Aron Baynes cruising toward big payday in free agency

Aron Baynes #46 of the Phoenix Suns during the second half of the NBA game against the Sacramento Kings at Talking Stick Resort Arena on October 23, 2019 in Phoenix, Arizona. The Suns defeated the Kings 124-95. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

The Phoenix Suns acquiring Aron Baynes was a gift and a curse.

On the one hand, Baynes has played quite well to start the year. Particularly with the suspension of Deandre Ayton, the 32-year-old Baynes has gotten to play. He’s become a bit of a fan favorite in that time.

So it makes sense that the pending free agent — who currently makes over $5.4 million — is in the discussion for a pay raise. The Athletic’s Shams Charania mentioned Baynes in a recent notebook:

Phoenix acquired Baynes on draft night, and in the weeks to come contenders such as the Lakers hoped Baynes would reach a buyout with the Suns to hit the open market, sources said. Suns general manager James Jones and new head coach Monty Williams wanted Baynes — and are now receiving the rewards for the offseason move.

Charania wrote that one team executive told him, “[Baynes] is positioning himself for well over $10 million per year.”

That’d be double what Baynes is making now, and that makes sense: The Gisborne, New Zealand native is on pace to set several career highs.

Baynes is averaging 15.0 points per game this season, a massive uptick from his 5.4 average in seven seasons prior. He’s also averaging a career-high 5.5 rebounds per game and 2.9 assists per game, and his three-point and two-point shooting percentages are also on pace for career highs.

It also helps that the Suns, in Baynes’ first season with the group, are off to one of their best starts in years. If nothing else, more eyes are going to be on Baynes than they would if he were on a bottom-feeding team.

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