In what must be a surreal experience for Aron Baynes he arrived at the Spurs’ headquarters today to sign his contract and get acclimatised to his new digs (his locker sits between Tony Parkers and Danny Greens). He spoke to Sportando and I’ve pasted below a few snippets from that interview. You can read the rest here.
There were numerous NBA teams willing to bring you over, why did you choose the Spurs?
“The Spurs are one of the most respected and professional organizations in the world. This is a good situation for me to get into and learn from some of the best coaches and players in the world. Also, they have a promising history of taking foreign talent and working with them to produce high-quality NBA players.”
Are you looking forward to reuniting with (Spurs guard) Patty Mills and (assistant coach) Brett Brown?
“It is an added benefit of going to the Spurs having Patty (Mills) and Brett (Brown) there. In eight years of playing basketball overseas I haven’t had a Aussie teammate, so I’m definitely looking forward to the experience. Also, Brett has worked with me a lot over the last four years as Australia’s national-team head coach, so it will be good to continue learning from him.”
Talk about your conversations with Spurs coach Gregg Popovich.
“I have only had a brief talk with coach (Gregg) Popovic. He basically said I need to come in and do the things that got me here which is bring energy, toughness and do whatever the coaching staff wants me to do. I said I’m here to learn from them and from the veterans that will be ahead of me.”
Aron is expected to make his debut either tomorrow against Dallas or Sunday against Phoenix. Realistically though, don’t expect him to log too much court time this season because coach Popovich is notoriously harsh on rookies and demands that all his players have a thorough understanding of the system before he trusts them to play. Under Pop, an apprenticeship is mandatory (see Tiago Splitter in his first few years, who came in with better credentials than Baynes). And I suspect this signing was made more with an eye towards next season, and nabbing Baynes before anyone else did. As we all know, the Spurs are pretty smart like that.
Some more pics of Baynes in San Antonio after the jump.