The Detroit Pistons are exploring the trade market on centers Aron Baynes and Boban Marjanovic, league sources told Basketball Insiders.
Baynes has a $6.5 million player option after this season, which he will decline, league sources told Basketball Insiders. Doing so would make the 30-year-old an unrestricted free agent this summer.
In November, Stan Van Gundy admitted it would be difficult for the Pistons to retain Baynes in free agency.
“Aron is a really good player and I said this after the last game, we’re going to be in a difficult situation by the [CBA] rules of trying to re-sign him next summer,” Van Gundy said. “I’m supposed to downplay him, not play him up and tell you, ‘You know, that guy’s a pretty solid backup,’ but the bottom line is he’s a starting-caliber NBA center who we’re very lucky to have as a backup.”
The most Detroit can offer Baynes is $11.4 million, which is 175 percent of his 2016-17 salary, according to our salary cap guru, Eric Pincus. The Pistons currently project to be over the salary cap, which means the team won’t have any room to pay him more than the $11.4 million amount. One of the team’s core players, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, will also enter restricted free agency this summer.
How much could Baynes earn on the open market as an unrestricted free agent this summer?
“Now he’ll make about triple next summer of what we’re giving him,” Van Gundy said in November. “We won’t be able to re-sign him, but the critics, who always know, killed us for overpaying him. Right now, we could trade him to 29 teams in about five seconds right now at what he’s making. So I don’t think we made too bad a deal.”
Marjanovic signed a three-year, $21 million deal with the Pistons last summer. The 28-year-old is averaging 7.3 minutes per game in 20 games thus far. He is owed $14 million over the next two seasons. However, part of Detroit’s thinking in signing Marjanovic this past summer was with an eye toward the future and the strong possibility that Baynes would leave in free agency after this season.
The NBA trade deadline is February 23 at 3:00 p.m. Eastern Time.
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