Aron Baynes has found himself at the centre of another NBL saga after a bump on Melbourne United import Ian Clark sparked controversy.
The incident occurred during the fourth quarter of last Friday’s NBL clash between the Brisbane Bullets and the ladder-leading United.
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Clark was worse for wear and had to leave the court after he copped a hard hit when Baynes set a screen for Bullets teammate Nathan Sobey.
Baynes appeared to nudge his elbow out and collected Clark in the face, sending him crashing the floor.
Andrew Gaze said in commentary: “That is a moving screen. That’s a foul.”
Melbourne United coach Dean Vickerman said post game: “He (Clark) is feeling angry.
“He’s been hit by Baynesy in the pre-season, now he’s been hit by that one.
“The way the screen was made, I thought there was some extra contact there from Baynesy.
“As a group, we’re a little pissed off about it.”
A dazed Clark was helped from the court but was said to have absorbed most of the contact in his shoulder and was free to play in Sunday’s game against the Sydney Kings.
“He took most of the contact on the shoulder, a little bit on the head,” Vickerman said.
“So he’s not in concussion protocols.
“We don’t do too much of that, complaining about things, we like to move on pretty quickly.
“But we’ll remember it.”
It didn’t help matters that a foul wasn’t called on the play, which was pointed out by Sydney Kings veteran Shaun Bruce.
The incident took a turn when the NBL’s social media accounts shared footage of the incident and posed the question: “Should Baynes have something to answer for after his screen on Clark?”
Baynes’ agent Daniel Moldovan was one of many to criticise the post, suggesting the league had a “vendetta” against Baynes.
“At least we have finally dispersed with the thinly veiled vendetta against Aron from inside the NBL offices,” Moldovan wrote on Twitter.
“I should probably expect a 3 game ban for not properly disposing of his Gatorade bottle … or something.”
United beat the Bullets 93-77 but lost to the Sydney Kings 98-86. Their gap to the second placed Perth Wildcats has closed to just one game.
It’s been an eventful season for Baynes, who was handed a five-match ban for his role in a fiery altercation with the Cairns Taipans in October and copped a gut punch from South East Melbourne’s Gary Browne last month.
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