Despite the Houston Rockets’ desire to run it back again next season, it seems like James Harden’s departure from Space City this offseason is inevitable. The Rockets tried offering him a massive contract extension, but the former MVP refused, believing that it would be best for him to leave the team and chase for his first NBA championship somewhere else. In a Twitter post, Brandon “Scoop B” Robinson of Heavy revealed that aside from the Brooklyn Nets and the Philadelphia 76ers, there’s another team that is aggressively trying to trade for “The Beard” — the Boston Celtics.
According to Robinson, the Celtics are attempting to move Kemba Walker and Gordon Hayward for assets that they could use to convince the Rockets to send Harden to Boston this fall.
“While the Nets & Sixers are believed to be frontrunners for James Harden, Boston Celtics are making a late push for Harden. They are trying to flip Kemba Walker and Gordon Hayward for picks and young assets that would appeal to Houston, frantically.”
Trading Walker just a year after signing him in free agency would be understandable, especially if it would help the Celtics to land a player of Harden’s caliber. The successful acquisition of Harden would likely provide a tremendous boost to their performance on the offensive end of the floor, giving them a prolific scorer, playmaker, and three-point shooter. Last season, the 31-year-old shooting guard averaged 34.3 points, 6.6 rebounds, 7.5 assists, and 1.8 steals while shooting 44.4 percent from the field and 35.5 percent from beyond the arc, per ESPN.
The potential arrival of Harden might force franchise cornerstones Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown to make huge adjustments to their game. However, Tatum and Brown probably won’t mind making sacrifices if it would strengthen their chances of bringing home the Larry O’Brien Trophy in the 2020-21 NBA season. If Harden meshes well with the core of Tatum, Brown, Marcus Smart, and Daniel Theis, the Celtics could have a better chance of beating the Eastern Conference champions Miami Heat.
Unfortunately for the Celtics, it remains a big question mark if Walker and Hayward could bring them back enough assets that could persuade the Rockets to send Harden to Beantown. The Rockets already made it clear to everyone in the league that it would take a massive haul for them to consider moving their best player. If the Celtics are serious about acquiring the former MVP, they would likely have to include either Tatum or Brown in the trade package.