Phoenix Suns: Contract-expiring players the team should bring back

Phoenix Suns (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Phoenix Suns (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) /
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Aron Baynes Phoenix Suns (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Aron Baynes Phoenix Suns (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) /

Aron Baynes

Perhaps one of the most talked-about players all season has been the comic book character from Australia, Aron Freaking Baynes. The 33-year-old big man stepped up when Deandre Ayton found himself mandated to the sidelines for 25 games and showed the world (at least the Valley) how he is capable of playing.

Baynes tallied his career-best in several categories including points, rebounds, assists, 3-point shooting, minutes played, and of course, fouls. Points-wise, he nearly doubled his previous best in a season, coming in at 11.5 per game. His previous best was 6.6, his third year in the league with San Antonio.

He picked a good year to ball out because Baynes is the team’s only unrestricted free agent this offseason, meaning he can go whatever he pleases, for however much a team is willing to pay him.

And considering the aforementioned dearth of free-agent talent, that could be a huge price tag. At least, huge what his skills might otherwise demand.

As an unabashed fan of Baynes and his mutant beard, I desperately implore James Jones to dig deep into Robert Sarver’s pockets in order to keep him in the Valley, but the frustratingly-practical side of me knows the price has to be right.

Baynes made $5.4 million last year in his one-year contract. I’m guessing that, like his point average this season, his market value will also nearly double to around $10 million and likely for more than one year.

It all depends on if the Suns can nab a big-name free-agent this off-season (looking at you, Danilo Gallinari) or not. If they have to settle with overpaying a mediocre player, it may as well be Aron Baynes.

I say, assuming they don’t get priced out, bring back the Aussie and his immaculate beard to backup the developing yet unfortunately injury-prone Deandre Ayton. Maybe he can even instill some confidence Ayton to shoot some 3s.

As Teddy KGB once said, “Pay him. Pay that man his money.”