Celtics

Celtics' Aron Baynes on possible free agency: 'My heart is still here in Boston'

Celtics' Aron Baynes on possible free agency: 'My heart is still here in Boston'

Despite the 2018-19 NBA season not going as planned for the Celtics, Aron Baynes' love for playing in Boston hasn't changed.

Baynes, who has a $5.5 million player option for the 2019-20 season, addressed the possibility of exploring free agency this summer during a community event at the Reggie Lewis Track and Athletic Center. It's clear the big man wants to stay put, but wishes to talk things over with Danny Ainge and Brad Stevens before making any decisions.

“I haven’t really thought too much about that,” Baynes said. “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, 32, has been a valuable commodity for the Celtics but was plagued by injuries throughout the 2018-19 campaign. The C's disappointing finish plus Baynes' inability to stay on the floor may mean he has some unfinished business in Boston.

“There’s only one thing you can look to achieve when you come to Boston,” Baynes said. “With the legacy they have here, you want to add to that legacy."

Between Baynes, Kyrie Irving's impending free agency, and the potential pursuit of Pelicans superstar Anthony Davis, the Celtics have a busy offseason ahead.

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Celtics easily on your device.

NBA strength of schedule rankings don't bode well for Celtics (with one exception)

NBA strength of schedule rankings don't bode well for Celtics (with one exception)

The NBA's "stretch run" officially begins later this week. But not all playoff pushes are created equal.

With 28 games ahead of the Boston Celtics after the All-Star break, now is as good a time as ever to look at "strength of schedule:" the combined record of remaining opponents for all 30 NBA teams.

Here are the full "strength of schedule" rankings for the home stretch, beginning with the New Orleans Pelicans, who have the league's easiest schedule with a combined opponent win percentage of just 44.9:

What do these rankings mean for the Celtics, who sit third in the Eastern Conference at 38-16? A few quick takeaways:

LIVE stream the Celtics all season and get the latest news and analysis on all of your teams from NBC Sports Boston by downloading the My Teams App.

1. The Celtics face the Los Angeles Lakers and Utah Jazz as part of a tough-four game road trip out of the break. They're still tied with the Toronto Raptors for the league's 11th-easiest remaining schedule, though. The Raptors are 2.5 games ahead of the C's for the all-important No. 2 seed (more on why that matters here), so this race could come down to the wire.

2. The two teams below Boston in the East standings -- the Miami Heat and Philadelphia 76ers -- have cupcake remaining schedules. Only the Pelicans have an easier road ahead than Philly (which already completed its season series with Boston) while Miami has the league's fifth-easiest remaining schedule. Both teams are in striking distance of the Celtics and very easily could catch the C's if they stumble.

3. Here's the one silver lining for Boston, which owns the Grizzlies' 2020 first-round pick (top-six protected): Memphis faces the NBA's toughest schedule down the stretch. The Grizzlies own the No. 8 spot in the Western Conference right now, but if the Portland Trail Blazers (sixth-easiest schedule) can catch them, the Celtics could salvage a lottery selection out of the Memphis pick.

This Friday is Jayson Tatum Day here at NBC Sports Boston. Be sure to check out our exclusive content around Tatum throughout the day, both online and on the broadcast of Celtics-Timberwolves.

Watch Kendrick Perkins' ruthless reaction to Kyrie Irving landing NBPA VP job

Watch Kendrick Perkins' ruthless reaction to Kyrie Irving landing NBPA VP job

In case you haven't gathered, Kendrick Perkins isn't a fan of Kyrie Irving.

The former Celtics big man has criticized Irving for how the All-Star guard handled himself in Boston and admitted on a recent NBC Sports Boston broadcast that "every time I think of that guy, I want to throw up."

Well, Perkins had to think about Irving during Monday's episode of ESPN's "The Jump," where host Rachel Nichols asked Perk for his reaction to Irving joining the NBA Players Association as its new Vice President.

LIVE stream the Celtics all season and get the latest news and analysis on all of your teams from NBC Sports Boston by downloading the My Teams App.

Here's how that went:

 

"What? Who?" Perkins replied with surprise. "Oh, I’m so glad I’m retired. ... I’m so glad I’m out the league. That’s all I got to say.

"Because I’m going to tell you: That’s the blind leading the blind."

Perk's vendetta against Kyrie continues.

As Nichols pointed out, Irving won a vote to replace Pau Gasol as an NBA VP (joining Jaylen Brown, which should be interesting), so he clearly has the respect of some of his peers.

But Perkins clearly isn't among them, and many Celtics fans likely are on his side.

Here's Kyrie's reaction to his nomination in his own words:

This Friday is Jayson Tatum Day here at NBC Sports Boston. Be sure to check out our exclusive content around Tatum throughout the day, both online and on the broadcast of Celtics-Timberwolves.