Gaze spurs Baynes on to higher goals
January 11, 2013
ANDREW Gaze has praised Boomers centre Aron Baynes' reported move to NBA club San Antonio Spurs as a ''blessing from the hoop gods''.
The 26-year-old Queenslander is reportedly close to receiving a multi-year contract from the Spurs, who will also buy out his current contract with Slovenian club Union Olimpija Ljubljana, which is expected to cost them at least $US400,000.
Baynes will then join the Spurs for the rest of the NBA season and next season with two further seasons also a possibility.
Gaze, who was part of the Spurs 1998-1999 NBA championship team, said Baynes had landed in one of the best managed teams in professional sport.
''They don't recruit dills,'' Gaze said yesterday.
''Personality and team ethos is just as important to them as the ability to make a jump shot or get a rebound.
''They don't tolerate stupidity or those who don't buy into their system.''
Baynes has caught the eye of scouts, first with the Boomers at the London Olympics and then in Europe this season averaging 13 points per game and nine rebounds.
''I think you look at his abilities, there are certainly players of his calibre or less running around in an NBA jersey,'' Gaze said.
''He is a strong talent with good size and more importantly he has tremendous athleticism for a big guy and runs the floor really well.
''I think for him the hoop gods have smiled upon him and he has joined one of the great franchises in sport.''
The Texas city is considered a major drawcard and the Spurs also have a long tradition of successfully signing foreign players.
''It's a fantastic city,'' Gaze said.
''The Spurs are the number one team in town, the fans love the Spurs and get right behind them and their venue is as good as there is.
''Most importantly their management has shown over the decades that they are first class and treat people the right way.''
Once the move is completed, Baynes will join Boomers teammate Patty Mills, who plays with the Spurs, and former Boomers coach Brett Brown, who coached Baynes in London.
But Gaze added Brown's influence wasn't all that got the centre to San Antonio.
''My understanding is they will part with some serious cash to secure Baynes,'' he said.
''You wouldn't bother doing that for a short-term player, they must see a need for him and want to get him into their system now.''