Former San Antonio Spurs and Detroit Pistons center Aron Baynes has agreed to terms on a one-year, $4.3 million contract with the Boston Celtics.
Though the Celtics have not formally announced the deal, Baynes was not so subtle in tipping his hand about the report in a recent Twitter post.
Last season, Baynes posted per game averages of 4.9 points, 4.4 rebounds, 0.4 assists and .5 blocks. The 30 year-old New Zealand native also averaged 15.5 minutes per game, while shooting 51.3 percent from field goal range and 84 percent from the free throw line.
Though Baynes had the option to opt out of his contract with Detroit after the 2016-2017 season (which he ultimately decided to do), Pistons’ head coach Stan Van Gundy was reluctant to move his center on the trade market due to his defensive contributions to the team.
“It’s really been proved for two years now that our defense is significantly better with Aron on the floor,” Van Gundy said per Aaron McMann of Mass Live.com. “His communication, his toughness, the fact that he reacts quickly and is ahead of the play, really, really helps our defense. And he helps us play well on offense, too. He’s a great screener, he understands the game. He helps us.”
The Pistons’ option which Baynes declined was worth $6.5 million for the 2017-2018 season, meaning that the center accepted over $2 million less to play with a contending Celtics team.
A tough interior defender is just what the Celtics needed to battle against and irritate the big men of their Eastern Conference foes, such as Tristan Thompson of the Cleveland Cavaliers, Marcin Gortat of the Washington Wizards, or Hassan Whiteside of the Miami Heat. Boston will hope Baynes can be a key rotational piece that helps them do just that.