We will be foregoing the MLE this year. People should not get their hopes up.
what makes you say that?
I think Marcus Smart will be deemed more important than any player signable via the MLE, and because we have to leave salary space to match an offer sheet, we will miss out on the MLE market (however, doing so will likely bring down Smartís price to something that provides better value).
The only player to think about is Nerlens, because no team should give him any kind of money resembling the MLE, and he may be willing to take 1-year at the minimum to prove his value with the right situation. Itís not impossible to believe Boston could be that situation, given their history of raising the value of other players in the past, and Nerlensí Boston roots.
So everyone was banking on us using the Mid-level to re-sign Baynes..
How does he fit in to the picture?
He doesnít unless the team finds out about Smart very quickly. And even then Iím not sure he does.
I know people like Baynes, but his best role seems to be as a starter playing reserve minutes. But I find it tough to believe that (without a major trade) the starting lineup wonít be Irving-Brown-Hayward-Tatum-Horford, which relegates Baynes to a bench role that doesnít necessarily fit what we need from him. Assuming we keep Smart and make no trades, the primary reserves are Smart, Rozier, Morris, and Theis. Thatís a solid 9-man rotation, with Ojeleye also deserving of regular minutes. The MLE is a lot of money to spend on someone in the 8-10 spot of your rotation. The rest of the minutes can be given to Yabusele and our 1st for developmental purposes, Bird and Nader can get Gino-time minutes, and thatís 14 guys right there. That 15th spot either beings to someone on the minimum who gets a chance to earn his way into the back of the rotation (a la Larkin last year), or doesnít get used as the team waits for the February buyout market.
If you want to keep Baynes, you need to hope that Ainge finds a new home for Morris, as that creates both the salary space and the room in the rotation.