Aron Baynes could be on the move, with a richer deal on the cards.
Aron Baynes could be on the move, with a richer deal on the cards.

The Logue Down: Aussie Aron Baynes linked with NBA move

AUSTRALIAN NBA star Aron Baynes has been linked to a blockbuster trade from the Phoenix Suns to Western Conference contenders the Los Angeles Clippers.

According to The Bleacher Report's Eric Pincus, Baynes is believed to be a prime target for the Clippers.

LA big man Ivica Zubac's four-year, $28.5 million salary would work straight up for Baynes, but the Suns may not want to take on a long-term salary for a true centre to support last season's No.1 draft pick, Deandre Ayton.

Baynes, 33 is seen as a valuable trade commodity. He is in the final year of his contract with the Suns, where he is earning $7.9 million, and will become an unrestricted free agent at season's end.

Baynes is averaging 11.5 points and almost six rebounds in 33 games this season.

The play-off-bound Clippers have the second best record in the west.

Another potential destination mooted for Baynes is Western Conference fifth seed Dallas, who could use the Aussie as back-up to starting centre Boban Marjanovic.

The Mavericks, led by superstar Luka Doncic, already have Australian small forward Ryan Broekhoff on the books.

The NBA trade window is due to close on February 8

We've spoken to a source close to the Baynes camp who insists that there is no truth to the trade talk rumours, but that could change if teams present the Suns with an attractive package.

 

BIZARRE FLIGHT OF LOST CHAMPIONSHIP RING

SYDNEY Kings legend Ben Knight thought he'd never see his 2004-05 NBL championship ring again.

After almost a year and a half, Knight was ready to give up on the prized possession, which was stolen from his family home.

Then the unbelievable happened.

Kings legend Ben has been reu-Knight-ed with his NBL championship ring.
Kings legend Ben has been reu-Knight-ed with his NBL championship ring.

Knight's ring was found by a cleaner on a Virgin plane in Perth that had travelled from Sydney via Brisbane.

The cleaner then contacted the company's boss, who happened to be a long-serving Wildcats member.

After a quick google search discovered The Daily Telegraph's story on Knight's lost ring, the Virgin boss thought he'd reach out to ex-King and his former school friend, Tommy Garlepp.

Thankfully, Garlepp was in Perth coaching a pre-season Sydney Flames game and he was able to collect the Kings' championship ring from the grand final series sweep of the Wollongong Hawks.

The Sydney Kings claimed the 2005 NBL Championship.
The Sydney Kings claimed the 2005 NBL Championship.

To say that Knight was appreciative would be an understatement.

"I was so happy," said a smiling Knight, who played for nine NBL clubs, including Sydney, Brisbane, Townsville, Wollongong and Cairns, in a career spanning 20 seasons.

"I looked everywhere for that ring. I even called Cash Converters.

"I thought maybe the person who stole the ring had gone undercover because it is such a unique ring.

"I also thought about getting a replica, so I was ecstatic to receive a phone call from Tommy saying someone had found it.

"I can't thank the Virgin cleaners enough for finding my ring. I've played in three NBL championship campaigns and I only won one, so this ring means the world to me."

Knight offered the Virgin staff some cash to say thank you, but they politely declined.

In the end, though, he was just grateful that his beloved championship ring had been found.

 

 

NEXT NEXT STARS TARGETS

THE best US high school talent currently in 2021 NBA mock drafts are in the discussion to join the NBL's Next Stars program.

Cade Cunningham (Oklahoma State), Evan Mobley (USC) and Terrence Clarke (Kentucky) are among the targets being considered by the league following on from the success of LaMelo Ball and RJ Hampton.

NBL commissioner Jeremy Loeliger will travel to the US in April to watch a host of exhibition games featuring the '21 draft class.

It's understood Loeliger hopes to sign off on a number of Next Stars deals during this trip, but a prospect committing to the program could be sealed beforehand.

Scott Machado has been the orchestrator of Cairns’ success. Picture: AAP
Scott Machado has been the orchestrator of Cairns’ success. Picture: AAP

 

CAIRNS NBA INVITE

THE high-flying Cairns Taipans are set to be rewarded for their stellar season to date with an invite to play in the annual NBL vs NBA pre-season series.

The Taipans have surprised many experts to sit in third position after 15 rounds largely thanks to the brilliance of import guard Scott Machado and forward Cameron Oliver.

Machado has been so potent offensively that he is in the running for league MVP while Oliver is averaging 16.3 points a game.

Cairns are yet to play in the NBA vs NBL series, but their form this season certainly warrants a call-up.

Cameron Oliver's aerial act has put the spotlight on Cairns. Picture: Getty Images
Cameron Oliver's aerial act has put the spotlight on Cairns. Picture: Getty Images

The Taipans' invite comes as the Illawarra Hawks also remain focused on securing an NBL vs NBA preseason game against LaMelo Ball's first franchise.

Ball is ranked at No.3 in the latest 2020 NBA mock draft, which is linking him to the New York Knicks.

The Hawks would love for LaMelo's first NBA preseason game to be against them.

Meanwhile, Ball's draft stock is steady despite being sidelined since November 30 with a foot injury.

This is the latest analysis out of the US: "LaMelo is still out with a foot injury but has likely solidified a high lottery selection. His defence remains a question mark but his offensive play-making is special."

South Sydney Rabbitohs indigenous players Latrell Mitchell and James Roberts show off the Sydney Kings' indigenous jersey at Redfern Oval. Picture: Liam Driver
South Sydney Rabbitohs indigenous players Latrell Mitchell and James Roberts show off the Sydney Kings' indigenous jersey at Redfern Oval. Picture: Liam Driver

 

INDIGENOUS NRL STARS LOVE HOOPS

REDFERN is a hotbed for rugby league fanaticism, but these South Sydney Rabbitohs indigenous stars also love their basketball.

Latrell Mitchell, Cody Walker and James Roberts (pictured) are all heading to the Kings' indigenous clash against the South East Melbourne Phoenix at Qudos Bank Arena on Sunday.

The match will be a special occasion to honour the host of indigenous players to the grace the NBL's courts, including current NBA star Patty Mills.

The NBL's inaugural indigenous Round will be held from January 29-February 2, with all nine clubs to wear special singlets.

 

SIMMONS' ALL-STAR PUSH

C'MON, Australia, time is running out to get Ben Simmons across the line in this year's NBA All-Star voting.

Simmons is currently eighth in the Eastern Conference guards with 456,066 votes.

Atlanta's Trae Young leads the way in the East with 1,389,628 followed by Brooklyn's Kyrie Irving (1,351,997) and Boston's Kemba Walker (1,331,577).

In the West, Dallas' Luka Doncic is in front with 3,277,870 votes, with Houston's James Harden (2,167,269) and Portland's Damian Lillard (687,855) rounding out the top three.

CLICK HERE TO VOTE FOR BEN (SEARCH HIS NAME)

At this stage, Simmons will miss out on an All-Stars starting position but he could still earn a bench call-up.

Voting closes on Tuesday, then players will be ranked in each conference by position (guard and frontcourt) within each of the three voting groups - fan votes, player votes and media votes.

Each player's score will be calculated by averaging his weighted rank from the fan votes, the player votes and the media votes.

The two guards and three frontcourt players with the best score in each conference will be named NBA All-Star Game starters. Fan voting will serve as the tie-breaker for players in a position group with the same score.

Shaun Bruce has found a home in Sydney. Picture: Getty Images
Shaun Bruce has found a home in Sydney. Picture: Getty Images

 

BRUCE'S REWARD

WHEN it comes to consistency, it is hard to go past Sydney Kings back-up guard Shaun Bruce.

After battling to secure a full-time gig last season, apart from an emergency stint with Adelaide, Bruce is excelling at the league-leading Kings.

In his 21 games to date, he is averaging eight points a game, including 50 per cent from the field.

More importantly, he provides valuable energy and effort coming off the bench.

Now Bruce is set to be rewarded with the Kings looking to upgrade his current one-year deal.

Watch LIVE coverage of the 2019/20 NBL Season plus up to 7 live NBA games every week with ESPN on KAYO. New to Kayo? Get your 14-day free trial & start streaming instantly >



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