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Celtics offering Aron Baynes’ contract to create cap space

Aron Baynes, Celtics

The Boston Celtics are offering the $5.4 million of Aron Baynes’ expiring contract in hopes to create cap space, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. With Kyrie Irving likely to opt out of the final year of his contract and Al Horford already having done so, moving Baynes without taking back any salary could get the Celtics to $23 million in cap space after having those three names off the books.

The Celtics could look a lot different than they did in 2018-19, almost unrecognizable without two pillars of their starting lineup in Irving and Horford and without one of their most vital defensive cogs coming off the bench in the Aussie Baynes.

Yet this seems like another way in which team president Danny Ainge could potentially reshuffle the deck and make another play in the offseason.

Boston likely knows there’s little the organization can do from keeping Irving and Horford from walking after a tumultuous season that saw them get the gentleman’s sweep out of the second round of the playoffs at the hands of the Milwaukee Bucks.

Yet the nightmare doesn’t stop here, as Terry Rozier, a restricted free agent, is also expected to get plenty of attention in free agency — likely forcing the Celtics to match those offers to some degree.

If Rozier leaves, that will likely limit Ainge to signing some working pieces to put around Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown, forging his future around two young stars with potential, along with the hope that Gordon Hayward can get back to his former All-Star self after playing a full season following his caustic injury.