Celtics

Celtics: Horford, Baynes, Hayward declared out vs. Hornets

Celtics: Horford, Baynes, Hayward declared out vs. Hornets

The Boston Celtics are dealing with some injuries at the moment. They will be without three key players during their game against the Charlotte Hornets on Saturday night.

According to the Celtics' official Twitter, Aron Baynes, Gordon Hayward, and Al Horford are all going to be out while the team visits Charlotte.

None of these absences are particularly surprising. Horford is likely just getting a maintenance day to rest his sore knee, as the team will be playing back-to-back games on Saturday and Sunday.

Baynes injured his ankle against the Philadelphia 76ers on Wednesday night. The ankle injury was originally expected to keep him out at least a couple of weeks, but he may return far earlier than expected. It seems that he now may have a chance to suit up on Sunday against the San Antonio Spurs.

With both Baynes and Horford out, that would figure to lead to extended minutes for Daniel Theis and Robert Williams in the frontcourt rotation. Theis seems likely to draw the start in place of Horford.

Hayward is still subject to the league's concussion protocol, so his status will be up in the air until he clears that. The team figures to be cautious with him and won't rush him back.

In Hayward's absence, Jaylen Brown will likely see more minutes off the bench while Semi Ojeleye could rejoin the rotation as well.

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Celtics' Kemba Walker approves of Jaylen Brown's extension: 'He deserves it'

Celtics' Kemba Walker approves of Jaylen Brown's extension: 'He deserves it'

Kemba Walker hasn't been Jaylen Brown's teammate for very long; the two players haven't even played a regular-season game together yet.

But after getting an up-close look at Brown during FIBA World Cup play, training camp, and the preseason, Walker likes what he sees from Brown, who inked a four-year contract extension worth up to $115 million on Monday afternoon.

The deal comes just three and a half months after Walker signed a $141 million contract with Boston — and to Walker, this latest deal reaffirms the franchise's commitment to winning.

“I know what these guys are all about, man, and this organization, they want to win,” Walker told Jared Weiss of The Athletic Monday afternoon. “You have to invest in the players, and Jaylen, he deserves it. I’m super, super happy for him.”

Had Brown not signed on the dotted line Monday, he would've been a restricted free agent next summer. But now he can play out the season with job security instead of potentially getting distracted by questions about playing for a new contract.

“I’m not saying Jaylen would do it, but it can be hard for a guy to be playing for a contract just for one year,” said Walker, who marveled at Brown's intelligence on the court. “He could’ve not took it and played the year out to showcase himself to other teams or even the Celtics again. Now it’s just less pressure. Now he really can just play basketball, work on his game and just continue to get better without worrying about his contract situation. I think it’s a huge burden off his back.”

It sure looked like there was a burden off both Brown and Danny Ainge's backs when the pen was put to paper Monday. Brown posted a picture of the big moment on the Instagram page for 7uice, his official brand. 

Brown's big week continues Wednesday when the Celtics open the season against the 76ers — and then on Thursday, when he celebrates his 23rd birthday.

Blakely & Forsberg predict 2019-20 NBA award-winners>>>>>

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Predicting the NBA Awards ahead of the 2019-20 season

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NBC Sports Boston Illustration

Predicting the NBA Awards ahead of the 2019-20 season

The NBA experienced an unprecedented amount of player movement during the 2019 offseason, and the Warriors are no longer the overwhelming favorite for the championship. Now that the hierarchy in the league has changed and both conferences are more wide open than ever, how will that impact the league's award races?

Chris Forsberg and A. Sherrod Blakely give their predictions for the 2019-20 NBA Awards, including who they think will win MVP, Rookie of the Year, and Coach of the Year.

CLICK HERE FOR THE GALLERY>>>>

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