BOSTON -- When word spread that Kyrie Irving was planning to play for a team other than Boston next season, you knew big changes were on the horizon.
That was followed by Al Horford’s reported decision to focus on signing with another team this summer, which only cemented what will surely be a new-look Celtics team whose focus will also be undergoing a makeover.
Now comes word that Boston is making Aron Baynes and his $5.4 million contract available in an effort to clear cap space to potentially pursue one of the upper-tier free agents.
While adding a big man like Orlando free agent center Nikola Vucevic would make a lot of sense considering recent developments, moving Baynes to another team also creates a greater window of opportunity for Boston's youthful big men like Robert Williams III and Guerschon Yabusele.
And that means any dreams of a Banner 18 run this season by Boston ... that ain't happening.
Instead, Boston will be reverting back to the steady growth plan we saw a couple years ago when getting to the postseason and winning a round or two was progress.
Potentially trading away Baynes makes sense for both him and the Celtics.
Yes, Boston would be losing one of the league’s top big-man defenders in Baynes.
But if this team isn't a title contender, it doesn't make a ton of sense to have too many players who don't fit into the long-range plans of the franchise.
The further removed this Boston team becomes from winning a title, that only lessens the value that a player with Baynes' talents and skills can provide to the team.
And at his age and with his level of experience, playing for anything other than a title at this point doesn't really make a lot of sense.
His strengths are best suited for teams that are competing for a title, not ones who are forced to re-calibrate not only their roster but also their expectations for what constitutes a successful season.
And with the offseason defections here in Boston, this is not a title-contending team and aren't likely to get there this season.
With that said, their focus has to be more centered around the continued development of their young players, many of whom have shown promise but only in spurts.
That is the path that this Boston team is currently on; a path that in all likelihood does not include Baynes along for the ride.
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