Former Celtic Aron Baynes is looking to make an NBA comeback. Could a reunion be in store?

Baynes held a private workout in Las Vegas on Friday, 11 months after he suffered a major injury during the 2020 Olympics.

Aron Baynes could be the backup center the Celtics are looking for.

Veteran center Aron Baynes is gearing up for a return to the NBA, which could come at one of his old homes.

The former Celtics held a private workout in Las Vegas on Friday as he’s looking to make a return after suffering a spinal cord injury during an off-court fall while playing with Australia during the 2020 Olympics.

After giving away center Daniel Theis to the Pacers as part of the trade for Malcolm Brogdon, the Celtics are in need of a third center. A league source told Heavy.com’s Steve Bulpett that he could see the two sides reuniting.

“I can see a fit in Boston,” the source told Bulpett. “They’ve already got [Rob] Williams and Al [Horford] and the other Williams (Grant) when they want to go smaller. They wouldn’t be asking a lot from [Baynes]. He played for [Celtics president] Brad [Stevens], so it’d be a bit different with [Ime] Udoka, but I wouldn’t see that as any problem.


“It’s just a matter of what direction Boston wants to go. I can see them waiting a bit, too. There are some bigs that could become available as other moves get made.”

Baynes, 35, played in Boston from 2017-19, starting in 85 of the 132 regular-season games he played in. He averaged 5.8 points and 5.1 rebounds during his two regular seasons in Boston, anchoring the Celtics’ defense which led the league in defensive rating in the 2017-18 season. Baynes also played a key role in the Celtics’ run to the Eastern Conference finals later that year, scoring six points per game and making 11 3-pointers, which was more than he’d ever made in any regular season to that point.

Boston traded Baynes to Phoenix to clear cap space in 2019. Baynes ended up having a career year with the Suns, scoring 11.5 points and 5.6 rebounds per game. However, his play took a dip in the following season. After signing with the Raptors in the offseason, Baynes averaged 6.1 points and 5.2 rebounds per game, but made just 44.1 percent of his shots, the second-lowest of his nine-year career.

Baynes’s injury at the 2020 Summer Games in Tokyo more than just sidelined him for the 2021-22 season. He had to go through an 11-month rehab process, which included learning how to walk again, as he was hospitalized for two months in Tokyo and Brisbane.


A scout who was in attendance for Baynes’s workout believes that while he might not be the player he was in Boston, he did show flashes of developing another part of his game that could get him on a team.

“That part was good, but it was 1-on-0, so there were some things you couldn’t really tell for sure,” the scout told Bulpett of Baynes’s stamina through the 40-minute workout. “I’m not sure he’s going to be quite the banger he was before, but he can really shoot from the outside. He was drilling 3’s.”

After drilling 11 of 23 3-pointers in the 2018 playoffs, Baynes continued to work on his outside shot in the three seasons after. He shot 34.4 percent from 3-point range in 2018-19. A year later, he made 35.1 percent of his 3s on four attempts per game. Baynes’s 3-point percentage took a dip with the Raptors though, dropping to 26.2 percent.

Boston’s pursued centers on the free-agent market already this offseason. It looked to sign Thomas Bryant to the veteran minimum, but he opted to sign with the Lakers, who offered him an opportunity to start. Some other notable free agent bigs include Dwight Howard, LaMarcus Aldridge, and DeMarcus Cousins. The Celtics also reportedly re-signed center Luke Kornet earlier in July.


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