One of the first agreements that occurred at the start of free agency in July was Aron Baynes coming to terms with the Celtics on a two-year, $11-million deal. There was no press conference to announce the deal (Baynes didn't want one), but the impact of the signing should not be underrated. The Celtics played their best defense of the season all year long with the veteran center on the floor, and Baynes helped limit the production of stars like Joel Embiid and Giannis Antetokounmpo in the postseason with his defensive strength and savvy while also contributing with his outside shot.
BostonSportsJournal.com recently caught up with the 31-year-old center for his first extended interview since rejoining the Celtics. Baynes touched on a number of topics including his decision to come back to Boston, whether he had other free agent suitors, his emerging 3-point shot, the challenge of facing Kawhi Leonard in Toronto and what lies ahead for this team next season.
You haven't spoken publicly since re-signing with Boston earlier this month. What are your initial thoughts about being back in green for a couple years?
Baynes: I'm definitely looking forward to it. Everyone within the organization and the team last year felt like there is a lot of unfinished business. That's what this year is about. We know what it's going to take. From day one, everyone is going to be working towards that as a collective group. We have so much carryover from last year and that was one thing we didn't have last year. It was a bunch of new guys. Having that core group of guys back is going to be a good thing for us, and hopefully, it translates into us playing even better from the get-go.
You mentioned everyone is coming back from the team's core, Marcus Smart included. How valuable is that continuity going to be for you guys entering this year after having so many new faces last year?
Baynes: It's a great thing. As a group of guys, we get along well. As a team, we work together and Brad puts us in the right places to succeed. That's definitely big, knowing there is not so much that isn't known this year. We know what we can do and we know how we have to maximize it. It's about going out there and doing it and trying to get that much better each time we do it. As much as we have continuity like you said, there are a few extra pieces that we didn't have at the end of last year that will help us improve as well.
What was the free agency process like for you? Did you talk to other teams at all or were you pretty set on coming back to Boston?