Boston Celtics

Aron Baynes of the Boston Celtics looks on during the game between the Boston Celtics and the Atlanta Hawks at TD Garden on December 14, 2018 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

By Matt Dolloff, 985TheSportsHub.com

With the 2019 NBA Draft imminent, rumors are swirling as much as ever with Danny Ainge and the Celtics. And that’s with the team looking at an exodus of stars and veterans, plus three first-round picks but none of them (14, 20, 22) looking particularly attractive for this year’s class.

That doesn’t mean Ainge won’t make moves. Part of his strategy for building the 2019-20 squad could be to make cap space-clearing trades, and a prime candidate for that is center Aron Baynes.

According to top NBA insider Adrian Wojnarowski, the Celtics have offered Baynes’ $5.4 million expiring contract to teams with space and presumably a need for a serviceable big man. Shedding his salary would get the Celtics back to around $23 million in cap space themselves.

According to Yahoo! Sports’ Keith Smith, the interest is mutual between the Celtics and Baynes to send him elsewhere. Baynes was willing to stay with the Celtics if they were legitimate title contenders, but it appears that he feels the same as Irving and Horford that they won’t be able to offer him that next season.

None of that bodes well for the Celtics’ chances of contending in 2019-20. That could all change if Jayson Tatum and/or Jaylen Brown make a leap forward on the court. Doesn’t look like Baynes is betting on that.

Either way, expect some kind of move from Ainge and the Celtics on Thursday, whether it’s a major trade or something minor involving one of their first-round picks.

Matt Dolloff is a digital producer for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Have a news tip, question, or comment for Matt? Follow him on Twitter @mattdolloff or email him at matthew.dolloff@bbgi.com.