Warriors' Kevin Durant's injury blows up Celtics' Kyrie Irving's free agency plan

Tanya Simon
June 13, 2019

Boston Celtics center Aron Baynes has exercised his $5.9 million player option for the 2019-20 season, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic and Stadium.

It's move that would force Kyrie Irving's hand in free agency, although reports have shown that the cryptic point guard has been showing plenty of interest in signing with the Brooklyn Nets.

As Charania reports, Irving can sign with any National Basketball Association team or sign a new deal with the Celtics when free agency opens. The All-Star guard has spent the last two seasons with the Celtics after the franchise acquired him from the Cleveland Cavaliers two summers ago.

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Although he won't be eligible to sign a designated veteran contract given that he was traded more recently than his fourth year in the league, Irving could still get considerably more money from the Celtics than anywhere else.

Last season, in 16.1 minutes per game, Baynes averaged 5.6 points, 4.7 rebounds and 1.1 assists on 47% shooting from the field, a career-high 34.4% from the three-point line and 85.5% from the free throw line. Irving also played in nine playoff games as the Celtics were eliminated in the second round by the Milwaukee Bucks. And with less than one month left before the beginning of free agency, Irving has made a significant change.

If Boston obliges, that would be a deal worth just shy of $190 million using projected salary cap figures for 2019-20.

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