Aron Baynes

Celtics Trade Aron Baynes, Ty Jerome To Suns For 2020 First-Rounder

JULY 6: The trade between the Celtics and Suns is now official, Boston announced today (via Twitter).

JUNE 20: The Celtics, who obtained the No. 24 selection from the Sixers earlier tonight, have agreed to trade the pick to the Suns, who have drafted Virginia point guard Ty Jerome (per Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN). The Celtics also included big man Aron Baynes in the deal, tweets Shams Charania of The Athletic and Stadium.

According to Adam Himmelsbach of The Boston Globe, Boston received a future draft pick from Phoenix in exchange for the rights to draft Jerome, and both Woj and Tim Bontemps of ESPN (link) report that the Suns are sending the Celtics the Bucks’ 2020 first-round pick. All told, the Suns will obtain both Baynes and Jerome, while the Celtics, who were said to be looking to move on from Baynes, pick up a first-rounder in next year’s draft.

The Bucks, of course, are expected to be one of the better teams in the league next season, so Boston’s selection will likely fall near the end of the first round, but they were evidently willing to wait a year for the first-round pick in order to move Baynes.

ESPN’s cap guru Bobby Marks notes that Phoenix is now down to a projected $14MM in cap space after accounting for Baynes’ salary and the cap hold for Jerome, which will surely curtail the level of free agent point guard Phoenix will be able to pursue on the free agent market this summer.

As for the Celtics, salary cap expert Albert Nahmad (link) notes that by trading Baynes and both the No. 20 and No. 24 picks away, Boston now has the ability to increase its cap room to $34.8MM, if Terry Rozier‘s cap hold is renounced (h/t to Marks).

Celtics Seeking Taker For Aron Baynes

The Celtics are looking for a team with cap space to absorb Aron Baynes‘ $5.4MM contract for next season, tweets ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. Baynes has an expiring deal, so it would only be a one-year commitment.

With Kyrie Irving and Al Horford both expected to leave, Boston is trying to shed salary for a run at another free agent. By unloading Baynes’ deal without taking back money, the Celtics could reach about $23MM in cap space. The team could get to $34MM by renouncing its remaining free agents, notes Chris Forsberg of NBC Sports Boston (Twitter link), but that would mean parting with Terry Rozier and Marcus Morris.

Baynes, 32, managed just 51 games this year in an injury-plagued season. He averaged 5.6 points and 4.7 rebounds in about 16 minutes per night.

Celtics’ Aron Baynes Opts In For 2019/20

Celtics center Aron Baynes has exercised his player option for the 2019/20 season, league sources tell Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link). The decision will ensure that Baynes remains under contract with Boston for another year, earning a salary of $5,453,280, per Basketball Insiders.

After initially joining the Celtics for the 2017/18 season, Baynes re-signed with the club on a two-year, $10.65MM contract last summer. Like teammate Kyrie Irving, he had until June 13 to decide on whether to opt in for next season or to opt out and head back to the open market as an unrestricted free agent. Unlike Irving, Baynes will be picking up that option.

[RELATED: Kyrie Irving to decline 2019/20 player option]

Although he battled injuries and was limited to just 51 games in 2018/19, Baynes has been a reliable presence in the middle for Boston over the last two seasons. In 132 total regular season contests, he has averaged 5.8 PPG and 5.1 RPG while playing solid frontcourt defense.

A source tells Keith Smith of RealGM (Twitter link) that Baynes opted in with an understanding that the Celtics don’t plan on including him in a trade package this summer.

With Baynes locked in for 2019/20, the Celtics are now carrying just over $70MM in guaranteed contracts. That doesn’t include salaries for Irving, Al Horford, Terry Rozier, or Marcus Morris, all of whom will be free agents.

Boston figures to operate as an over-the-cap team unless perhaps Irving and Horford both walk, which isn’t viewed as a likely scenario at this point — rumors of Kyrie departing continue to swirl, but there have been no indications that Horford plans to jump ship.

Baynes, who becomes the ninth veteran to exercise a player option already this offseason, as our tracker shows, is now on track to become an unrestricted free agent in 2020. He’ll have full Bird rights at that point.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Celtics Notes: Tatum, Irving, Grousbeck, Baynes, Horford

Former Celtic Paul Pierce believes Jayson Tatum would reach his All-Star potential if he drove to the basket more often, as he told Steve Bulpett of the Boston Herald.

“For a guy with his athleticism, his skill set and his ball-handling, his height, he should be a guy that gets to the line at least six times a night and makes five out of six,” Pierce said. “That’ll take him from a 16-point scorer to a 20-point scorer, and he’ll be in the conversation for All-Star every year on a winning team.”

Pierce also believes Tatum won’t fully blossom until he’s relied upon as a primary scorer.

“Look at James Harden,” he said. “We didn’t know James Harden was going to be this until he went to Houston. He was the sixth man on OKC. Now he’s a perennial MVP and arguably the best player in the league.”

We have more on the Celtics:

  • Kyrie Irving’s decision in free agency could be decided by how the postseason plays out, Bulpett speculates in the same article. While events during the season have seemingly tilted the odds in favor of Irving signing elsewhere, that could change if the team makes a deep run, Bulpett adds.
  • Danny Ainge attributed a seemingly critical comment by Irving against the coaching staff as frustration after a loss. Charlotte’s Kemba Walker scored 36 points against Boston in a recent loss and Irving said they should have trapped Walker more often. Ainge’s response came on a radio interview with 98.5 The Sports Hub’s “Toucher & Rich” and was relayed by Darren Hartwell of NBC Sports Boston“I did hear (Irving’s comments). It’s not that uncommon,” the GM said. “Guys get frustrated, and maybe that was the first thing that came to his mind is, ‘We should have done something different with Kemba.'”
  • Owner Wyc Grousbeck believes the team can flip the switch during the postseason, he told Adam Himmelsbach of the Boston Globe. Grousbeck admits the team has underachieved but still believes better days are ahead. “We have not played at an elite level this year,” Grousbeck said. “We have to admit that at the moment. We’re in fifth place in the East. It’d be great to take that step now, or we’ll try to take it next year if we have to. But what I’m seeing, with the playoffs around the corner, I’m going to go into the playoffs with good energy and optimism and seeing what happens.”
  • Pairing Al Horford and Aron Baynes can give the Celtics more toughness inside but it would only work against certain lineups, as coach Brad Stevens explains to NBC Sports Boston’s Chris Forsberg“With their size and length, I think we have a different impact at the rim. But when you’re playing a team that’s super small and spread out, that’s tough to guard when you have a more traditional lineup.”

Atlantic Notes: Hayward, Baynes, Scott, Ibaka

Making a radio appearance today on Toucher & Rich in Boston, Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge offered a pair of encouraging injury updates, as Chris Forsberg of NBC Sports Boston details (via Twitter).

According to Ainge, Gordon Hayward is expected to suit up for the Celtics this weekend, either against Charlotte on Saturday or vs. San Antonio on Sunday. Hayward has missed the club’s last two games – both losses – due to a concussion.

Meanwhile, Aron Baynesankle injury may not be as serious as initially feared. According to the Celtics’ president, that ankle sprain is likely more of a day-to-day issue than an injury that will guarantee a multi-week absence. Still, the team will tread carefully, since it wants to have Baynes available for the postseason.

Here’s more from around the Atlantic:

  • The Sixers‘ ability to make a deep playoff run this spring figures to hinge on their starting five, given their lack of reliable depth. However, Mike Scott – acquired along with Tobias Harris from the Clippers last month – has been the club’s “most consistent and most versatile” reserve since arriving in Philadelphia, contends Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer. Scott, a free agent at season’s end, has averaged a career-high 23.2 minutes per contest, posting a .386 3PT% and handling a variety of defensive assignments for the 76ers.
  • Before making his return from a three-game suspension on Wednesday night for the Raptors, Serge Ibaka expressed regret over last week’s altercation with Cleveland’s Marquese Chriss. As Josh Lewenberg of TSN.ca relays (via Twitter), Ibaka especially lamented the fine, which cost him about $448K. “I was thinking, man, you know how many people need that money?” Ibaka said. “Instead [of going after Chriss], I could have just said, you know, I’m not going to fight, and take that money and go do something for people that need it.”
  • With March Madness right around the corner, AJ Neuharth-Keusch of USA Today makes the case for why the Knicks are the lottery team most in need of Zion Williamson this summer.
  • In case you missed it on Wednesday evening, we passed along a few more notes on the Knicks and the Celtics.

Aron Baynes Has Grade 2 Ankle Sprain

Celtics center Aron Baynes has been diagnosed with a grade 2 ankle sprain, according to a tweet from the team. Coach Brad Stevens confirmed the injury, which Baynes suffered in tonight’s loss to the Sixers.

A grade 2 sprain often carries a recovery time of 4-6 weeks, so Baynes may not be able to return before the end of the regular season. Daniel Theis and Robert Williams will likely see increased playing time until he gets healthy.

The play happened in the second quarter when Baynes landed on Marcus Smart‘s foot while defending a drive to the basket, relays John Karalis of MassLive.

It’s the latest in a series of bad breaks for Baynes, who recently returned to the lineup after missing more than a month with a left foot contusion. He also missed 13 games earlier in the season with a broken bone in his left hand. Baynes has been limited to 43 games and is averaging 5.3 points and 4.2 rebounds per night.

Celtics Notes: Grousbeck, Brown, Ainge, Baynes

The Celtics will be vulnerable in the first round of the playoffs, co-owner Wyc Grousbeck admitted yesterday, according to Nicole Yang of The Boston Globe. Speaking at the MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference, Grousbeck said the team is coming off the “worst February” in memory since he assumed control of the team in 2002.

Boston posted a 5-6 record and ended the month with four straight losses. There have also been comments from players that the team lacked unity, along with rumors that Kyrie Irving may be reconsidering the verbal commitment he made to re-sign with the Celtics this summer.

“We also have the capability of losing in the first round,” Grousbeck said. “We have a very, very good set of opponents in the East, all of whom have beaten us in the last month.”

There’s more this morning out of Boston:

  • At the end of Friday’s shootaround, president of basketball operations Danny Ainge could be seen talking to Jaylen Brown, relays A. Sherrod Blakely of NBC Sports Boston. Brown, who has struggled to adjust to a reserve role after being the team’s second-leading scorer last season, described Ainge’s comments as encouraging. “Some GMs might not say anything to you,” Brown said. “So I appreciate him. I try to listen to everybody, hear from everybody and their perspective… So, Danny’s definitely one of the people in my ear that I’m tuned in to, just because of his position and what he’s been through.”
  • Hall of Famer Kevin McHale warned back in November that the Celtics’ depth might turn out to be a problem because too many players would be expecting significant roles, notes Steve Bulpett of The Boston Herald. The return of Irving and Gordon Hayward, who both missed last year’s playoffs with injuries, meant that Brown, Terry Rozier and others who helped the team reach the Eastern Conference finals were asked to make adjustments. “I think they’re in a spot where they’re trying to keep a lot of players involved and a lot of players happy and catching a rhythm for a lot of players,” McHale said. “That’s always really hard. I’ve always believed that you need to make sure, as a coach, that your three or four top guys are in a great rhythm, and then after that you’re going to have to have guys that fill in and play. You can’t make everybody happy all the time.”
  • The Celtics may get a boost with the return of center Aron Baynes, who is listed as questionable for today’s game. A left foot contusion has kept him off the court since February 1.

Atlantic Notes: Dinwiddie, C’s, Baynes, Knicks

As they fight to hang onto the sixth seed in the Eastern Conference, the Nets will get some rotation reinforcements this week. According to Michael Scotto of The Athletic (via Twitter), head coach Kenny Atkinson said today that injured guard Spencer Dinwiddie is set to return to the court for Brooklyn on Friday.

Dinwiddie, who last played for the Nets on January 23, underwent surgery a month ago to repair torn ligaments in his right thumb. At the time, the estimated timeline for his recovery was three to six weeks, so he’s ready to get back right in the middle of that window.

Dinwiddie and veteran forward Jared Dudley were assigned to the Long Island Nets, Brooklyn’s G League affiliate, today in order to get some practice time in, tweets Brian Lewis of The New York Post. Both players are expected to suit up for the NBA club on Friday vs. Charlotte.

Here are a few more items from around the Atlantic:

  • While Danny Ainge acknowledged during a Toucher & Rich radio appearance on Thursday that “everybody has some fault” in the Celtics‘ struggles this year, the club’s president of basketball operations offered a strong defense of his head coach. “There’s blame to share for everybody, but I will say this: He’s the least, by far, of anybody that there is to blame,” Ainge said of Brad Stevens (link via Darren Hartwell of NBC Sports Boston).
  • Aron Baynes, who has been sidelined with a left foot injury since the start of February, appears to be almost ready to play, Stevens said on Wednesday, per Taylor Snow of Celtics.com. “I would say that Friday is unlikely,” Stevens said of Baynes’ return date. “But beyond that, I think he could play any time in the days after that depending on how he comes out of (Wednesday’s) workout.”
  • Knicks fans – including Spike Lee – may be happy to see the team embrace the tank and improve their draft lottery position, but losing games isn’t head coach David Fizdale‘s goal the rest of the way, as Steve Popper of Newsday writes. “I’m lucky because Steve [Mills] and Scott [Perry] and Mr. [James] Dolan have all said to me, you play every game to win and you don’t worry about where we land in the draft and all of that stuff,” Fizdale said.
  • Although the Sixers are missing a couple big men and have Justin Patton for Thursday’s game, the young center probably won’t play, head coach Brett Brown told reporters today (video link via Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer). We had more on Patton and the 76ers in an earlier round-up.

Atlantic Notes: Meeks, Baynes, Nets, Jenkins

Jodie Meeks played in an NBA game on Sunday for the first time in approximately 10 months, making his first appearance as a member of the Raptors. The veteran shooting guard was hit with a 25-game suspension at the end of last season for violating the league’s anti-drug program, was traded from the Wizards to the Bucks in the offseason, and was ultimately cut by Milwaukee. Meeks didn’t get another NBA offer until last week, when the Raptors signed him to a 10-day contract.

“When I got the call this past week, I was really excited and knew that I was ready for the opportunity,” Meeks said, per Arden Zwelling of Sportsnet.ca. “I’m just looking at it as a chance to prove myself again. I’m trying not to look at it as a 10-day. Don’t put any pressure on yourself — just go out there and play hard. Just come in ready when your number’s called, like any other player on this team. (The Raptors) have treated me very well here. I know I’ve only been here a few days, but it’s a first-class organization. I hope to stay.”

Meeks made a good first impression with the Raptors on Sunday, scoring 10 points and making a pair of three-pointers in 17 minutes off the bench. His 10-day deal will expire this Friday night, but if he keeps knocking down shots, he should get another opportunity in Toronto or elsewhere.

Here’s more from around the Atlantic:

  • It has been a frustrating season for Celtics center Aron Baynes, who has been slowed by foot and hand injuries over the course of the year, as ESPN’s Kevin Pelton details. While Baynes will face a decision this offseason on his $5.45MM player option for 2019/20, his focus for now is on getting healthy and helping the C’s make a deep playoff run.
  • An agreement between Mikhail Prokhorov and Joseph Tsai, which will allow Tsai to eventually assume controlling ownership of the Nets, had significant potential for disharmony, but has been a success so far, writes Brian Lewis of The New York Post. “That’s probably one of the greatest things about [them], and a credit to Mikhail and Joe. I haven’t noticed a differing of opinions. Both collaborate,” Nets GM Sean Marks said of the ownership situation. “I collaborate with them a lot. There’s no surprises.”
  • John Jenkins, who inked a rest-of-season contract with the Knicks last week, is thrilled that he was able to parlay a 10-day deal into a longer-term commitment, per Marc Berman of The New York Post. “It’s all I could ask for coming in on a 10-day and getting an opportunity to succeed,” Jenkins said. “I’m thankful, grateful, extremely happy. All the hard work I’ve put in, and sacrifice, all paying off at the perfect time.”

Aron Baynes To Be Sidelined “A Few Weeks”

Celtics center Aron Baynes is “shutting it down for a few weeks” because of pain in his left foot, tweets Adam Himmelsbach of The Boston Globe. The team says the injury is to the cuboid bone, adds Chris Forsberg of NBC Sports Boston (Twitter link).

Baynes said the pain started about two weeks ago and “wasn’t getting any better,” relays A. Sherrod Blakely of NBC Sports Boston (Twitter link). He has tried to play through it, logging 21 minutes Friday against the Knicks, but it has become too severe.

The timing means Baynes will almost certainly be out through the All-Star break. Baynes’ absence will mean more minutes for Daniel Theis, Guerschon Yabusele and rookie Robert Williams, although Williams will miss today’s game with back soreness.

Baynes has seen reduced playing time in his second season with the Celtics, averaging, 5.7 PPG and 4.3 RPG in about 15 minutes per night. He has a $5.45MM player option for next season.