Aron Baynes

Celtics Notes: Stevens, Horford, Lineup Change, Morris

After watching his team fall to .500 with its third straight loss Wednesday, coach Brad Stevens wondered if maybe the Celtics were overrated all along, relays Chris Forsberg of NBC Sports Boston.

“I just don’t know that we’re that good. Maybe it’s not a wakeup call if you keep getting beat,” Stevens said after a home loss to the Knicks. “We have to play better. It’s not because we’re not capable of being good. It’s not because we weren’t good at one time in our lives. It’s you’re good if you play good and the results are speaking for themselves.”

The Celtics entered the season as the favorites in the East and were considered a legitimate threat to win the NBA title after reaching Game 7 of the conference finals last year without injured stars Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward. Instead, they have experienced struggles on both offense and defense as Stevens has tried to work out effective combinations of his veterans and younger players.

“It’s not one guy. It’s not two guys. It’s all of us,” Stevens said. “We’re not playing with the same personality we played with last year. That’s the easiest way to describe it. And then the 50,000 issues that are below that, we have to tackle one at a time.”

There’s more today out of Boston:

  • Al Horford said the team’s “effort” isn’t where it needs to be, relays A. Sherrod Blakely of NBC Sports Boston. However, he suggested that the early-season struggles could benefit the team down the road. “These are the times I feel like make teams stronger,” Horford said. “I feel last year, what made us stronger was that adversity that we faced with different injuries and things like that. Different situations make teams tougher. Right now, as much as I don’t like losing and going through this, I feel like this is what’s making us stronger as a unit.”
  • Hayward came off the bench for the second straight game Wednesday as center Aron Baynes remained in the starting lineup, Blakely notes in a separate story. In addition to improving the first-team defense, Stevens explained that the move puts players in their more natural positions. “There’s a comfort level to that,” he said. “As we continue to try and grow and get to the best version of ourselves, we’re going to have to be able to play both ways. We’re gonna have to be able to play small; we’re gonna have to be able to play big.”
  • With the Wizards contemplating a sell-off, Tom Keegan of The Boston Herald suggests that the Celtics might benefit from acquiring Markieff Morris to play alongside his brother, Marcus.

Celtics Notes: Stevens, Irving, Morris, Rozier

Coach Brad Stevens altered the starting lineup for Monday’s game at Charlotte, and he told A. Sherrod Blakely of NBC Sports Boston that it will probably happen again. Stevens opted for more size in the matchup with the Hornets, inserting center Aron Baynes into the starting five in place of Gordon Hayward.

“We’re not done probably tweaking the lineups,” Stevens said. “And so, I do think you’ll see more.”

Stevens is trying to spark a team that has stumbled to a 9-8 start after being the preseason favorite to win the East. Few of the combinations he has used this season have provided any consistency, so he continues to mix and match in hopes of shaking things up. Even so, Blakely adds that the Celtics are remaining patient and a major move is unlikely, at least for a while.

There’s more news out of Boston:

  • Kyrie Irving made a verbal commitment last month to stay with the Celtics when he becomes a free agent next summer, but Blakely wonders in another story if he might be rethinking his decision. Blakely notes that when Irving made his announcement he believed there was enough talent in place that he wouldn’t have to carry the team every night. However, that may not turn out to be true.
  • There are concerns about the locker room atmosphere in Boston in the wake of the disappointing start, relays Jay King of The Athletic. Veteran forward Marcus Morris suggests that the anxiety may be a result of having so many young players on the roster. “The mood swings are really high,” he said, “and I think that’s the difference between having a veteran team and having a young team. Veterans, game over, you get rid of it, you throw it in the trash, you get ready for the next game. I think our mood goes game by game. And I think to be a successful team down the road you can’t be that way.”
  • Stevens is dismissing a social media message from Terry Rozier that some interpreted as a sign that he wants traded, writes Darren Hartwell of NBC Sports Boston. “Let’s do us ALL a favor,” Rozier tweeted Tuesday, before saying later that it had nothing to do with basketball. “I’m not going to pretend to read into tweets,” Stevens said. “I guess I don’t pay attention to that that much.” 

Cavaliers Notes: Smith, Hood, Sexton, Lue

Tensions from the 2018 Eastern Conference Finals boiled over to the Cavaliers’ game against Boston on Saturday, with J.R. Smith in the middle of the preseason altercation between the teams.

Smith got tangled up with Celtics center Aron Baynes while going for a rebound in the first quarter, leading to Smith pushing the 6-foot-10 Baynes. Baynes’ teammate, Marcus Smart, quickly sprinted towards Smith and attempted to take a shot at him. The two have history, and mayhem ensued.

“For a guy who wants to be so tough in this situation, he leads the league in flops,” Smith said after the game, according to Joe Vardon of The Athletic. “You can’t flop as much as you do and then be tough. How does that even work? And then you start slinging your teammates. Like, you didn’t come to play basketball today. Your coach told you you gotta play and you was frustrated, and then you try to take it out on somebody else.

“At the end of the day, I’m not going to sit here and lose money over trying to fight Marcus Smart. I’m not going to lose money over my tattoo, so why would I lose it over him.”

Smart was ejected from the game, Smith received a technical foul, and each could face additional penalties from the league office.  The two teams don’t meet again until November 30 at TD Garden.

There’s more out of Cleveland:

  • Rodney Hood is determined to prove himself this season with the Cavs, Vardon writes. Hood is set to become an unrestricted free agent at season’s end.
  • Collin Sexton impressed in his debut at Quicken Loans Arena, writes Chris Fedor of Sexton finished with 13 points in 19 minutes of work, shooting 4-of-6 from the floor.
  • The Cavaliers are focused on scoring by committee this season, Basketball Insiders’ Spencer Davies relays. “When we’re playing that way—playing fast, moving the basketball, moving bodies—I think everyone can be effective in that situation,” coach Tyronn Lue said. “So we’ve got to score by committee where we need five, six guys in double figures.”

Celtics Notes: Williams, Irving, Tatum, Baynes

Rookie center Robert Williams is optimistic that his troublesome right knee will allow him to be ready when training camp opens September 25, relays A. Sherrod Blakely of NBC Sports Boston. Williams hasn’t been cleared yet for five-on-five drills, but he says rehab work on the knee is going well.

“I’m still taking it day by day,” Williams said. “These people [Celtics] have a lot of time, a lot of money invested in you. They don’t want to mess up what they got going. I’m thankful for the trainers and coaches.”

Concerns about Williams’ health and work ethic caused him to slip in the draft, where the Celtics found him too tempting to pass up at No. 27. Williams acknowledges that he needs to rebuild his image, which wasn’t helped when he overslept for his introductory press conference or failed to make the first Summer League practice because of a missed flight. He said he has been inspired by the example set by his teammates.

“Every morning I’m going in at 8, 8:30 [to work out],” Williams said.Al [Horford] and [Aron] Baynes, they’re in at 6 a.m. Their workout day has ended. See that repetition every day … I learned a lot from them already.” 

There’s more today out of Boston:

  • Clippers coach Doc Rivers believes another successful season is the best way to convince Kyrie Irving to stay in Boston when he hits free agency next summer, Blakely writes in a separate story. “At the end of the day, I think it’ll come down to winning,” Rivers said. “I really believe that. If you win enough, they usually want to stay.”
  • Jayson Tatum showed he has the talent to become a star during his rookie season, but the wealth of talent in Boston may keep him from reaching that level for a while, Blakely contends in another piece. With Marcus Morris set for free agency next summer and Irving, Horford and Baynes all with option years, Tatum’s role is likely to expand in the future.
  • The desire to play for a contender was enough to keep Baynes in Boston, notes Taylor C. Snow of The Australian center didn’t look around much in free agency before re-signing with the Celtics for $11MM over two seasons. “It’s one of those things where I enjoy and want to be in a place where they want me as well,” Baynes said. “And that’s definitely something that I’ve felt from the front office and everyone involved.”

Celtics Re-Sign Aron Baynes

JULY 7: Baynes has formally signed his new contract with the Celtics, according to the NBA’s official transactions log.

JUNE 30: The Celtics have reached an agreement with free agent center Aron Baynes, reports Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports (Twitter link). According to Charania, Baynes will re-sign with Boston on a two-year, $11MM contract. The second year will be a player option, Charania adds (via Twitter).

A. Sherrod Blakely of NBC Sports Boston first reported several days ago that Baynes would likely stick with the Celtics as an unrestricted free agent.

Baynes, who was playing on a one-year, $4.33MM deal in 2017/18, averaged 6.0 PPG and 5.4 RPG in 81 regular season games (18.3 MPG) for the Celtics. The 31-year-old was also a key contributor in the postseason, flashing a newfound outside shot — after having made just four three-pointers over the course of his six NBA seasons, Baynes knocked down 11 of 23 three-point attempts in the playoffs.

Having initially signed Baynes during the 2017 offseason, the Celtics hold his Non-Bird rights this summer. Those rights would allow the team to offer a starting salary of up to $5,193,600, which is likely the route that Boston is taking. Using Baynes’ Non-Bird rights would allow the C’s to retain their mid-level exception for another move.

Baynes was the No. 41 free agent on our list of 2018’s top 50 free agents.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Aron Baynes Considered Likely To Remain With Celtics

Aron Baynes will be an unrestricted free agent this summer, free to sign with any NBA team. However, according to A. Sherrod Blakely of NBC Sports Boston, Baynes is a good bet to stick with the Celtics. Multiple league sources tell Blakely that they expect the C’s to sign Baynes to a new multiyear contract.

As Blakely details, Baynes has made no secret of his desire to remain in Boston, suggesting in his exit interview after the season that he’d like to return. The veteran center also represented the team at the NBA Awards Show on Monday night, which doesn’t seem like the behavior of someone who expects to sign with a new team next week.

From the Celtics’ perspective, re-signing Baynes would make sense. With Greg Monroe also a free agent and first-round pick Robert Williams likely not ready for a major role, the team will need to find a way to fortify its frontcourt. Re-signing Baynes using his Non-Bird rights would allow the C’s to avoid giving up trade assets or dipping into their mid-level exception to add a big man.

Baynes, who was playing on a one-year, $4.33MM deal in 2017/18, averaged 6.0 PPG and 5.4 RPG in 81 regular season games (18.3 MPG) for the Celtics. The 31-year-old was also a key contributor in the postseason, flashing a newfound outside shot — after having made just four three-pointers over the course of his six NBA seasons, Baynes knocked down 11 of 23 three-point attempts in the playoffs.

Baynes is one of several free agents of note for the Celtics, who will also see Monroe and Shane Larkin reach unrestricted free agency while Marcus Smart becomes a restricted free agent.

Atlantic Notes: Baynes, Trade Talks, Knicks Coaches

Aron Baynes, who is set to hit unrestricted free agency this summer, has previously declared his interest in returning to the Celtics. Baynes once again reiterated that desire, but said he understands that the business side of the game may prevent a reunion, Adam Himmelsbach of the Boston Globe writes.

“I always want a big role. I want more of a role and I want to be able to contribute to the team more. That’s always one of those big things. That was one of the big reasons for coming here. And then how the family is. You definitely have to look out for them. And also just the living situation,” Baynes said. “Money comes into it. That’s the business side of things, but I don’t think it’s the only side of things either. So I think I showed that when I came here at the start of the season as well. I’m looking forward to it, but at the end of the day my agent is going to be doing most of the work and it’s not on me.”

Baynes signed a one-year deal with Boston last summer and produced a solid 6.0 PPG and 5.4 RPG in 81 games for Boston. However, with a healthy Daniel Theis expected to return and the Celtics possibly wanting to allocate his potential salary elsewhere, Baynes is not a lock to return.

Check out more Atlantic Division notes below:
  • The Celtics enter this summer with just one pick in the draft and no cap room. As Himmelsbach writes, that reality has the Celtics preparing for a calmer summer after a couple eventful offseasons. The team is expected to enter next season with a roster similar to the one that almost made the NBA Finals.
  • Jud Buechler, a former part of the Bulls’ 72-10 season and an assistant coach with the Lakers, has agreed to join David Fizdale‘s Knicks coaching staff, Marc Berman of the New York Post reports.
  • In addition to Buechler, Keith Smart, Pat Sullivan, and Royal Ivey have all been brought in as assistant coaches, the Knicks confirmed with a press release. Their hirings were previously reported.

Celtics Notes: Smart, Rozier, Larkin, Baynes

The Celtics would like to retain both Marcus Smart and Terry Rozier next season as they look to maintain depth, sources tell Gary Washburn of the Boston Globe. While the franchise would like to bring everyone back, GM Danny Ainge acknowledged that tough decisions could be on the horizon.

“We’ve been managing the payroll pretty well up to this point and we know that there are some really big, tough decisions going forward,” Ainge said.

[RELATED: Will Marcus Smart Be A Celtic Next Season?]

Here’s more from Washburn on the Celtics:

  • Shane Larkin, who will be an unrestricted free agent, will likely command a multiyear offer, as other teams will see him as a player who could hold down the backup point guard spot, Washburn speculates. The scribe adds that Larkin could see a substantial raise on his 2017/18 salary, which came in at slightly more than $1.47MM.
  • The market for Smart will be difficult to predict, Washburn contends in the same piece. The Celtics are expected to allow Smart, who will be a restricted free agent this summer, to find an offer and evaluate whether or not it makes sense to match.
  • If the Celtics are going to bring Aron Baynes back, they may have to use their mid-level exception since they do not own his Bird Rights, Washburn notes. The scribe argues that the team should attempt to sell Baynes on a one-year discounted deal with the lure of playing for a serious championship contender. However, he admits that such an arrangement is unlikely given the big man’s solid 2017/18 campaign.
  • Washburn believes Greg Monroe is unlikely to return next season. Monroe’s defense prevented him from carving out a significant role during the Celtics’ postseason run.

Successful Surgery For Gordon Hayward, Aron Baynes

Gordon Hayward and and Aron Baynes both underwent successful operations today, the Celtics announced on their website.

Hayward, who wasn’t able to return after fracturing his fibula on opening night, had a plate and screws removed that were inserted after the injury. Plans call for him to resume basketball activities in six to eight weeks, and he is expected to be at full strength when training camp opens in September.

The team describes Hayward’s ankle and fibula as “structurally sound,” adding that the plate and screws needed to be taken out because they were irritating his peroneal tendons.

Baynes needed nasal septoplasty surgery after suffering a fracture during Game 6 of the Eastern Conference finals. He is expected to resume basketball activities in two to four weeks.

Celtics Notes: Baynes, Irving, Roster, Smart

Now that the Celtics’ season is over, Aron Baynes will undergo surgery to repair a broken nose, which he suffered during Game 6 of the team’s series against Cleveland, the big man told reporters today, including Steve Bulpett of The Boston Herald (Twitter link).

Meanwhile, Kyrie Irving‘s absence from Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals was also related to a nasal issue — as ESPN’s Chris Forsberg details, Irving underwent surgery to repair a deviated septum and wasn’t able to fly to the game in the wake of the procedure.

“It was a residual from the facial fracture he had earlier in the season,” Irving’s agent Jeff Wechsler told ESPN’s Jackie MacMullan. “He had the knee surgery, and now he’s taken care of this sinus surgery, so he will be all set going forward.”

Here’s more on the Celtics as their offseason officially gets underway:

  • Adam Himmelsbach of The Boston Globe passes along several notable quotes from the Celtics’ exit interview today. Among those comments: C’s president Danny Ainge indicating that the team is unlikely to make major roster moves unless those changes represent clear upgrades.
  • Asked today about re-signing RFA-to-be Marcus Smart, Ainge expressed confidence in ownership’s willingness to spend, tweets Mark Murphy of The Boston Herald. As Himmelsbach relays, Smart believes the Celtics will look to bring him back, and said he’d like to stay with the franchise. “I want to be in Boston,” Smart said. “I want to be here. I love this city, I love this team, I love the atmosphere it gives off. I’ve been here for four years. My heart’s here.” Smart also spoke after last night’s game about his value in free agency, as we detailed this morning.
  • Despite Ainge’s suggestion that the roster may not change much this offseason, Sean Deveney of The Sporting News says it will be interesting to see if the Celtics get involved in trade talks in the coming months in an effort to tidy up certain areas where their depth chart is crowded.
  • ESPN’s Bobby Marks (Insider link) previews the Celtics’ offseason, exploring the possibility of a Irving extension among many other roster moves.
  • Earlier today, we took a closer look at the Celtics’ salary cap situation heading into the summer.