After letting Kelly Olynyk (Heat), Amir Johnson (76ers) and Tyler Zeller walk to clear cap space for Gordon Hayward, the Celtics – armed with just the $4,328,000 room exception – needed another big man.
Enter Aron Baynes.
Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports:
Free agent center Aron Baynes has reached agreement on a one-year, $4.3M deal with the Boston Celtics, league sources tell The Vertical.— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) July 9, 2017
Baynes declined a $6.5 million player option with the Pistons. So, he’s taking a $2,172,000 loss this year without gaining any long-term security.
At least he joins a better team.
Baynes might even start at center. He or rookie Ante Zizic would allow Al Horford to spend more time at power forward, a less physically demanding position. Boston’s best lineup still projects to be Horford at center with Hayward and Jae Crowder at forward. But teams still tend to start big, especially in the regular season.
At minimum, Baynes provides a beefier alternative to Horford – a more skilled, but more finesse, big. Baynes should help with the Celtics’ long-standing rebounding problems. Unlike Zizic, Baynes also plays much more reliable defense.
The Pistons have already moved on, signing Boban Marjanovic last summer with the intent he’d assume Baynes’ job as Andre Drummond’s primary backup this season.