BOSTON (CBS) — The Celtics are in for one wild offseason, and no one has any clue how it will all play out. Kyrie Irving could skip town and leave a giant deficiency in Boston’s star power. Or he could sign his max contract and likely lead to some big roster changes regarding the C’s young players.
Al Horford also has a player option, and if Irving bolts, it could mean Mr. Everything is playing elsewhere in 2019-20 as well. Then there are those Anthony Davis trade rumors, which won’t be going away anytime soon. And you know that Danny Ainge has several backup plans at the ready, leading to even more uncertainty with the current club.
All of that will make it even more difficult for those who don’t command the headlines or monster contract offers on the Celtics roster, primarily center Aron Baynes. All of Austrailia has a player option for next season at $5.5 million, and has expressed his desire to remain in Boston in order to take care of some unfinished business following the team’s disappointing early exit from the postseason.
But while he loves being green, he’s also going to consider all his options this offseason.
“I haven’t really thought too much about that,” Baynes said of his future at a community event on Thursday. “I know my heart’s still here in Boston. I love Boston. It’s been great to my family. There’s no better place to play than TD Garden during the playoffs or when you’re in the middle of a comeback. So if I’m thinking of that, I know where I want to be. But at the same time I’ve got to talk with Danny, I’ve got to talk to Brad and see what their thoughts are as well. I want to be in the right situation.”
Baynes certainly doesn’t bring the flash or excitement we get from 90 percent of the Celtics roster, but the 32-year-old is a valuable member of Brad Stevens’ club. He’s a great defensive presence in the paint, and shows no hesitation at doing all the dirty work that most of Boston’s other players couldn’t be bothered with. Injuries are the biggest concern, with Baynes limited to 51 games last season. But when he’s on the floor, you know Baynes is going to do whatever is asked of him. And if he leaves, the Celtics will take a gigantic hit in the accent department.
At $5.5 million, Baynes is still a relatively affordable option should the Celtics not land Davis this offseason, and they probably won’t find another center with such a team-friendly price tag on the open market. He could opt out and take the mid-level exception somewhere else, getting a slight bump in pay, but it’s clear that he’d prefer to stay in Boston, so long as they don’t go full rebuild mode this offseason.
In a summer that will surely be dominated with Kyrie, AD and Trader Danny headlines, we shouldn’t forget about Baynes, an important but unsung piece to the puzzle in Boston.