By Matthew Geagan, CBS Boston

BOSTON (CBS) — Aron Baynes wants to return to the Celtics. The Celtics want Aron Baynes to return to the Celtics.

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So it should really come as no shock that the feeling around the NBA is that the two sides will reach an agreement at some point in the near future, according to NBC Sports Boston’s A. Sherrod Blakely. Heck, Baynes was Boston’s representative at the NBA Awards Show earlier this week out in California, which you wouldn’t really expect from a player planning on leaving town.

Baynes was the perfect big man for Boston to play alongside Al Horford last season. He anchored the league’s best defense, (with Boston’s defensive rating dipping 7.3 points when Baynes hit the bench) and finished the year with an NBA-best defensive rating of 97. He did all the nitty gritty stuff that most players don’t care to do anymore in the NBA. Baynes didn’t even mind if he ended up on the wrong side of a posterizing dunk or 12; he was going to play hard-nosed defense no matter what the situation. And while the Celtics hope to have a versatile defender and shot-blocker in rookie Robert Williams (drafted 27th overall last week), it wouldn’t hurt to have both Horford and Baynes mentoring their newest youngster.

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With a stacked roster already, the Celtics aren’t going to do much on the free agent market this summer. Marcus Smart’s impending restricted free agency will take up most of the headlines when players are set free on July 1, but the Celtics would be wise to get Baynes tied up quickly. He’s an important part of the Celtics defensive system, and a piece that won’t cost them very much. Boston could send him Baynes full mid-level exception worth $5.3 million, which would be a modest raise from the $4.3 million he earned last season.

Brad Stevens and Danny Ainge love Baynes. Celtics fans and Tommy Heinsohn love Baynes — all of him. Keeping that love going for another year just makes sense, for both sides.

It’s not a super sexy move, but neither was trading for Baynes last season. But it’s a move that will make a big difference, despite having a small ripple on your transaction log.

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