NBL, NBA, Brisbane Bullets, Phoenix Suns, Boston Celtics, Spurs


Aron Baynes will complete his remarkable return to basketball later this year with the Brisbane Bullets in the NBL, but an NBA recall is still on the cards after months of “chaos”.

Baynes was playing for the Boomers at the Tokyo Olympics last year when a freak accident left him hospitalized for two months.


The imposing center suffered a neck injury in Australia’s decisive group game against Italy, before slipping into the dressing room later in the match.

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Baynes had to relearn how to walk in hospitals in Tokyo and Brisbane, and was ruled out of the 2021-22 NBA season.

“Honestly, a bit of chaos here and there. In retrospect, it’s all a bit different,” Baynes told reporters Friday morning.

“Basketball is my happy place and I’m excited to be able to continue here and keep working.

“Later I will probably come back to a few other things, but for now I know what awaits me.

“I can’t wait to get in there and get out there and start running for a goal now, not just in terms of doing my own thing, in terms of goal with the team.

“A group of guys who have a common goal that I’m excited for. That’s what I’ve been missing lately, so really excited.

Baynes, who won an NBA championship with the San Antonio Spurs in 2014, signed a two-year contract with the Bullets.

But ESPN reported that the contract includes a provision that would allow the 35-year-old to return to the NBA if an opportunity arises.

The Australian big man has played 522 games for five different NBA clubs, including Spurs alongside Patty Mills.

He is also in elite company with former MVP James Harden being the only player in league history to score 35+ points, have 15+ boards and make nine threes in the same game.

The three-time Olympian shares the record for most three-pointers made by a Phoenix Suns player in this game, after draining nine shots from beyond the arc.

But with the Paris Olympics fast approaching, Baynes said he was taking his career “one season at a time” as he looked to “prove himself” with Brisbane.

“I’m just focusing on short-term goals right now and what I need to do. If I lock those in, you definitely have the bigger picture of what you want to do,” he said. added.

“But in terms of the national team, I just can’t wait to get that green and gold back. It’s the epitome of basketball, being able to run with my second family.

“We grew up together, we saw each other’s families grow too. It’s been a few years now but this is the ultimate for me.

Aron Baynes guards Philadelphia star Joel Embiid. Photo: Adam Glanzman/Getty Images/AFPSource: AFP

“Now I can play against some of them too, so it’s going to be fun.”

Baynes will don the Brisbane blue shirt alongside talented players already at the club, including Olympic bronze medalist Nathan Sobey and captain Jason Cadee.

Baynes will face the Bullets alongside fellow Olympic bronze medalist Nathan Sobey, as well as captain Jason Cadee.

But the Bullets, who finished eighth in the NBL last season, will look to fill the void of regular starters Robert Franks and Anthony Drmic who both headed south to Adelaide.

Head coach James Duncan said Brisbane’s challenge was to add more players to their roster to play alongside Baynes.

“Were excited. (Baynes) Brings grit, toughness. His skills speak for themselves, but it’s something we were looking for,” Duncan said on Tuesday.

“It’s Aron Baynes. Having someone like that on your team is a great thing.

It’s a big thing for the NBL and it’s an exciting time for us. Now it’s all about putting pieces together, continuing to grow, and starting to prepare for the new season.

“He won a championship, he played nine years in the NBA. He is a Boomer who brings this culture to our team.

“He will help me to continue my coaching career so it’s a plus, it’s a bonus for us.

“For the other players, they’re going to see how someone comes to work every day (and) puts the effort on and off the pitch.

“He is exactly what we were looking for.”