Former Celtic, NBA Champion Eyeing NBA Return Following Devastating Injury

Aron Baynes

Getty Aron Baynes #46 of the Boston Celtics

Aron Baynes hasn’t suited up for the Boston Celtics since 2019. Since the Celtics traded him to the Phoenix Suns during the 2019 NBA Offseason, he has played for both the Suns and the Toronto Raptors. Baynes missed the entire 2021-22 season because of a freak spinal cord injury he suffered during the 2021 Tokyo Olympics. After making his recovery, Baynes intends to resume his NBA career, according to Brian Windhorst of ESPN.

“Aron Baynes, who suffered a spinal cord injury after a freak fall while playing for the Australian national team in the Tokyo Olympics last summer, has resumed his career and will be working out for NBA teams Friday in Las Vegas.”

Windhorst detailed what the recovery process has been like for Baynes since the injury, from having to learn to walk again to resuming basketball activities.

“Baynes was in hospitals in Tokyo and Brisbane for nearly two months last summer as he learned to walk again. He returned to playing basketball only in January after grueling weeks regaining his strength through daily physical therapy and is now ready to show teams his progress.”

It doesn’t sound like it’s been an easy process for the Australian center.

Jayson Tatum Shouted Out Baynes in January

On January 27, Windhorst wrote a feature giving the gruesome details surrounding what had happened to Baynes during the 2021 Tokyo Olympics and the steps he had to take to recover. After the story had come out, Tatum shouted out Baynes during his recovery while also calling him one of his favorite teammates he had ever played with.

Baynes, who played with Tatum for the first two years of Tatum’s NBA career, responded by saying that it was all love.

If Baynes truly is one of Tatum’s favorite teammates he ever played with in the NBA, and Baynes is trying to make it back into the league, could a potential reunion in Boston be in the works?

A Possible Option For Boston?

After they traded Daniel Theis to the Indiana Pacers, the Celtics will need another center to backup Robert Williams III. Chris Mannix of Sports Illustrated reported that Boston is indeed looking for just that after Thomas Bryant chose the Los Angeles Lakers over them.

The market for a backup center is pretty barren at the moment. That’s why, following the report that Baynes plans to resume his NBA career, Celtics fans and reporters have wondered if perhaps he is the Celtics’ solution to replace Theis.

Jay King of The Athletic said bringing him back to Boston would make sense as long as Baynes is healthy.

Dan Greenberg of Barstool Sports echoed the same sentiment that Baynes isn’t the worst option if he is ready to go health-wise.

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Keep in mind that Baynes is familiar with Head Coach Ime Udoka since Baynes played for the San Antonio Spurs from 2013 to 2015, in which Udoka served as an assistant coach under Gregg Popovich during that time.

Also, if Baynes were to be brought back, he would be the fourth Celtic that Brad Stevens has brought back as President of Basketball Operations after having previously coached them in Boston, joining Theis, Al Horford, and Enes Freedom.

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