The Toronto Raptors are doing the literal opposite of what the Pistons are doing, and although most of that is a good thing. They might want to consider signing a Center sooner rather than later.
Serge Ibaka has now followed Kawhi Leonard to Los Angeles, and Toronto Raptors fan couldn’t have been more hurt. Especially when we consider the cheap deal he signed for ($19 million for two years), but free agency is far from being over. As centers are getting signed left and right — with 90 percent of them going to the Detroit Pistons — one center the Raptors should be signing is Aron Baynes.
I already wrote an earlier article that Baynes should be signed if Ibaka were indeed to leave. Baynes is a defensive-minded center who’d be able to do the easy tasks on offense, one of them is stretching the floor. Aron Baynes had himself a very good year doing that with the Phoenix Suns, averaging a career-high 11.5 points and 35.1 percent from three.
We know just how much Nick Nurse loves defense and threes, and that’s exactly what Baynes brings to the table. He’d be a perfect fit in the Raptors system and would serve as a poor man’s Marc Gasol at worst on both sides of the floor — Baynes will obviously never have the playmaking and post presence Gasol had.
What’s the right price?
Baynes’ last contract had an AAV of $5.5 million. With players like Serge Ibaka and Montrezl Harrell getting cheap deals on both LA teams. I wouldn’t expect a deal to be too expensive. A deal anywhere from $5-7 million would be fair value for a year or two. That’d be a relatively cheap deal for a quality deal. We just have to hope Baynes doesn’t have Mason Plumlee’s agent.
This would leave the Raptors with more than enough cap space to sign out the rest of their roster. So re-signing players like Chris Boucher, Paul Watson, and Dewan Hernandez.
If the Raptors do strike-out on Baynes, other centers that’d be available are Whiteside, Bismack Biyombo, Alex Len, Willie Cauley-Stein… All names that are not as attractive as Baynes.