One of the most surprising teams to begin the 2019-20 NBA season so far has been the Phoenix Suns.
The Suns are looking like a potential playoff team and they recently gave the Los Angeles Lakers all they could handle in an eventual Los Angeles win. One big reason for their excellent start has been the play of Aron Baynes whom they traded for.
On 2019 NBA Draft night, the Suns traded a 2020 first round pick to the Boston Celtics for Baynes and Ty Jerome. With Phoenix believed to be in rebuilding mode, many assumed the deal was made for the Suns to simply acquire the rookie and possibly buyout Baynes.
According to Shams Charania of The Athletic, the Lakers were among the teams hoping for a Baynes buyout:
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.
The Lakers obviously had a need for a big man heading into 2019 NBA free agency so their interest in Baynes makes a ton of sense. He brings size, solid rim protection, and three-point shooting so the Lakers making a run at him wouldn’t have been a surprise.
The Suns had other plans and Baynes has been crucial to their success, especially as DeAndre Ayton was suspended for 25 games. In his absence, Baynes has stepped up in a major way.
So far this season, Baynes is averaging 14.5 points, 5.6 rebounds, and 3.1 assists while shooting a ridiculous 44.2 percent from the three-point line.
The Lakers have been able to recover just fine at the center position. They brought back JaVale McGee and signed DeMarcus Cousins during free agency. Following Cousins’ unfortunate torn ACL, they brought in Dwight Howard, who has been excellent so far this season.
Things might not have gone the way the Lakers and others thought, but the Suns have clearly made the right move.