Why the Celtics are looking to move Aron Baynes’ contract on draft night

(Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

Aron Baynes exercised his $5.4 million player option earlier this month but after watching Kyrie Irving and Al Horford head out the door, Danny Ainge appears poised to pivot towards a full youth movement. Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.com reports Thursday morning that the Celtics have been shopping around the 32-year-old's contract to teams with cap space, which could open up additional salary cap room for Boston when free agency kicks off on June 30th.

Currently, the Celtics have $27.8 million in cap space if they keep all of their draft picks and renounce all of their free agents including Terry Rozier and Marcus Morris. That number could jump all the way up to $33.2 million if Baynes was dumped with no returning salary. That gets the Celtics in the neighborhood of a max contract money for free agency or gives the ability to absorb a huge contract without having to match money. The Celtics will undoubtedly be exploring both of these routes on draft night and in the weeks leading up into free agency.

As for Baynes, BostonSportsJournal.com reported last week after he opted into his contract, the team had not given him any promises about his future standing. The $5.4 million salary for 2019-20 was