This has been one heck of an off season by GM James Jones as the Phoenix Suns are relevant again and looking to make some noise.
Before you celebrate all the moves from this past week or so, though, understand that victory is not without sacrifice.
Gone in the trade for Chris Paul are Ricky Rubio and Kelly Oubre. We have talked on what they provided for this team. Now, with this latest news, Aron Baynes is gone as well. The big, burly center helped lead the beginning of the fight to getting the Suns back to being a respectable team and helped the youth develop and get off to solid starts in the NBA careers.
Baynes was acquired by Phoenix during the 2019 NBA Draft in a trade with Boston. At 33 years old and playing limited minutes for the Celtics, no one knew quite what to expect from him or even if to expect much. However, Aron quickly showed his ability to make an impact as a big body with a defensive mind that could stretch the floor while leading by example. He was a very pleasant surprise and did a lot for this team and for Deandre Ayton.
Speaking of Ayton, when he was suspended after the first game of the season, Baynes stepped up in a big way as the starting center.
In his first 9 games in the starting lineup, he made 21 three-pointers at a 48.8 percent clip, averaging 17.4 points, 6.2 rebounds, 3.3 assists and 1 block per game.
He was arguably, and surprisingly at his age, in the running early for the most improved player and he ended the season with career highs nearly across the board. Sadly, he tested positive for COVID-19 shortly before the Suns began to get ready for Orlando and he was not able to play in the miraculous 8-0 run.
Baynes meant a lot to this team. I thank him for what he did here and wish him nothing short of the very best moving forward.