NZ-born Aron Baynes close to NBA contract

ROY WARD
Last updated 12:55 10/01/2013

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Australia could have a third player in the NBA in the coming days after reports Boomers centre Aron Baynes is close to signing with the San Antonio Spurs.

Several outlets are reporting the Spurs are close to finalising the signing of Baynes from Slovenian club Union Olimpija Ljubljana on a multi-year deal in which he would join the club for at least the rest of this season and next season while also giving San Antonio the chance to keep him for the following two seasons.

Baynes' move has yet to be completed but the reports stress the move is close to a conclusion. The 26-year-old Queenslander played for the Boomers at the London Olympics under the coaching of Brett Brown, an assistant coach with the Spurs, and impressed with his rebounding and defence while also showing some improvement on his offensive skills and foul problems.

Some scouts have labelled Baynes as the best centre in the European leagues where he has averaged 13.8 points and nine rebounds a game this season.

If Baynes joins the Spurs he will become the second Australian on the roster joining guard Patty Mills and will get the chance to claim a prized NBA championship ring later in the year with the Spurs a contender for the NBA title.

Former Tall Black Sean Marks played three seasons with the Spurs, including winning an NBA title in 2005. He now works in the Spurs front office as general manager of the franchises D-League team. Tall Blacks captain Kirk Penney and current NZ Breakers import Cedric Jackson have also had recent summer league/preseason trials with the Spurs.

Australians Andrew Gaze and Shane Heal have also played for the Spurs.

Injured centre Andrew Bogut is the other Australian currently in the NBA - he is hopeful of returning later this season after ongoing problems following ankle surgery.

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- Sydney Morning Herald

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