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Celtics Trade Rumors: Aron Baynes Being Shopped Ahead of 2019 NBA Draft

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistJune 20, 2019

BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS - MAY 06: Aron Baynes #46 of the Boston Celtics looks for a pass during the second quarter of Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals against the Milwaukee Bucks during the 2019 NBA Playoffs at TD Garden on May 06, 2019 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

The Boston Celtics are reportedly shopping center Aron Baynes around ahead of Thursday's 2019 NBA draft.

According to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski, moving the $5.4 million remaining on Baynes' contract without taking back any salary would give the Celtics $23 million in salary-cap space to work with when also taking Kyrie Irving and Al Horford off the books.

Both Irving and Horford are expected to decline their player options for 2019-20 in favor of testing the free-agent market.

SNY's Ian Begley recently reported that teams pursuing Irving believe the Brooklyn Nets are his preferred destination. On Tuesday, Wojnarowski reported Horford will seek a contract with a team other than the Celtics, meaning Boston could lose two of its top players.

The 32-year-old Baynes isn't in the same neighborhood as Irving and Horford in terms of his importance to the Celtics, but he has been productive within his role over the past two seasons.

Injuries limited the Kiwi to 51 games last season, but he made 18 starts and averaged 5.6 points and 4.7 rebounds in 16.1 minutes per contest. When extrapolating Baynes' numbers over 36 minutes, his averages were 12.5 points and 10.5 rebounds.

It is highly unlikely that any team will give the 6'10", 260-pounder much playing time, but with an expiring salary of just $5.4 million, he is an affordable option for a team in need of center depth.

Baynes is the most experienced big left on Boston's roster if Horford leaves, and trading him would task general manager Danny Ainge will filling a major hole in the frontcourt.

Aside from Baynes, the Celtics have raw 2018 first-round pick Robert Williams at center and Guerschon Yabusele at power forward. Marcus Morris is an unrestricted free agent.

Boston has a core of Gordon Hayward, Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown and Marcus Smart, and it could also re-sign restricted free agent Terry Rozier. The bulk of that young core played a significant role in the Celtics reaching Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals two seasons ago.

Trading Baynes could open the door for Boston to sign another impact player, but it is difficult to envision the Celtics creating enough cap space to make up for the potential loss of both Irving and Horford.

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