Just two weeks out from the NBA trade deadline, Suns backup center Aron Baynes remains one of the hottest names on the block.
According to Marc Stein of the New York Times, while many teams see Andre Drummond and Steven Adams as the big fish among available big men, but Baynes is seen as “among the most intriguing.”
The Clippers, even after the off-season of their dreams, are exploring the trade market for dependable size as well as potential wing depth in advance of the Feb. 6 trade deadline, league sources say— Marc Stein (@TheSteinLine) January 23, 2020
Previously, Eric Pincus of Bleacher Report reported the Clippers’ interest in Baynes as far back as December. I wrote on Monday about why the Suns would be silly to give him away for anything more than a top offer. The team dropped both teams this week without Baynes backing up Ayton. If they want to keep winning games, Baynes is integral to the roster. Keeping him past this season is not out of the question, either.
Besides, it’s difficult to see what the Suns could get back from a team like the Clippers that would make it worth trading him. Los Angeles has its own first-round picks in 2020 and 2021 as well as Detroit’s 2021 second-round pick. If the Clippers, who also seem to want a 3-and-D wing option, don’t think Baynes is worth a first, it’s hard to find a deal.
Would Detroit’s future second plus a young player like Terance Mann or Jerome Robinson be enough for Phoenix? Based on Stein’s report, the asking price seems much higher than that.
This seems like a smart stance from Phoenix. Baynes is not so valuable that they should make him untouchable, and he is an unrestricted free agent in 2020. There’s no guarantee they keep him, even if they want to. If they can get a top asset now, they should. But there’s no denying Baynes’ value as a player and leader.
These types of leaks, particularly on the Suns’ side, are used to create leverage. The Suns aren’t precluding themselves from a Baynes deal, but they’re making it known through Stein that the price will be high. However, this Suns front office has been pretty tight-lipped the past two years, so maybe this is coming from Baynes’ agent or someone from a different team who thinks they know something.
Two weeks from the deadline, it’s too early to say what will happen.