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Aron Baynes picks up 2019-20 player option

Aron Baynes returning ensures at least some front court stability as the Celtics descend into the unknown of the offseason.

NBA: Playoffs-Milwaukee Bucks at Boston Celtics Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports

Shams Charania of The Athletic reported Wednesday that Aron Baynes will opt into the final year of his contract worth $5.9 million for the 2019-20 NBA season.

Baynes, when healthy, was a crucial piece of Boston’s rotation, offering impressive rebounding, defense and leadership on and off the court. Baynes is also active in the Boston community, often teaming up with charities and the team for public events for the youth in Boston.

Last season, Aron Baynes averaged 5.6 points, 4.7 rebounds and 1.1 assists on 47% shooting from the field, a career-high 34.4% from behind the 3-point line and 85.5% from the free throw line in 16.1 minutes. Baynes really opened up his game this season, averaging a career-high (by a lot) in 3-point attempts. He also notched a career-high in block% and box plus/minus.

In Boston’s 9 playoff games, Baynes averaged 2.1 points, 3.8 rebounds and 0.3 assists, shooting 57%, 33% from 3 and 50% from the free-throw line in 12.8 minutes.

Baynes only played in 51 games this season due to various injuries, and his presence was sorely missed. Although he never really lights up the box score, he provides tremendous value, and the team was obviously better with him compared to the alternative. Having Baynes come back at least ensures that Boston will be a solid defensive team when he’s on the floor.

As for what this means for the overall roster construction, not much. Baynes’ opting in was in question in the sense that he also would like to play for a contender, but no other team was going to give him $5.9 million next season in free agency.

Kyrie Irving declined to exercise his option this afternoon (which doesn’t mean anything!), and Al Horford might do the same next Tuesday. It’s likely that we won’t get clarity on next year’s team until free agency actually begins.

This tidbit from CelticsBlog’s Keith Smith is incredibly interesting:

So count out Aron Baynes in all of your trade scenarios. It’s intriguing that Danny Ainge would promise that considering the circumstances surrounding this team, but maybe that means that the front office is leaning toward a scenario that we haven’t even thought of. After the Rich Paul article that dropped today on Sports Illustrated that revealed that Anthony Davis won’t re-sign in Boston in no uncertain terms, anything’s possible.