When James Harden demanded a trade from the Houston Rockets, several title contenders expressed a strong interest in adding him to their roster. Aside from the Philadelphia 76ers and the Brooklyn Nets, the Celtics were also rumored to be making a push to acquire “The Beard” this offseason. As reported by The Inquisitr, Boston was trying to flip Gordon Hayward and Kemba Walker for picks and young assets that they could use as trade chips in the potential blockbuster deal with the Rockets.
However, unlike the Sixers and the Nets, who are determined to trade for Harden, it seems like the Celtics are now having second thoughts about going after the former MVP. In a Twitter post, Celtics beat reporter Steve Bulpett revealed that the Celtics were “strongly advised” against trading for him.
“I’m told from a western source @Celtics actually did some research on James Harden to decide if they should pursue a trade discussion… They were strongly advised to keep away. The word on how things slipped apart in Houston didn’t paint a lot of people in a very good light.”
Harden could have been an intriguing addition to the Celtics. His arrival in Boston might have had the potential to tremendously boost their performance and give them someone who could step up and take charge of their offense when the opposing team’s defense is focused on Jayson Tatum. However, based on their so-called “research,” it turned out that Boston realized that Harden might not be worth trading for.
Despite what he could contribute on the floor, the Celtics seem to be concerned about how the potential acquisition of Harden could negatively affect their locker room dynamic. When the Rockets got eliminated by the Los Angeles Lakers in the second round of the 2020 playoffs, drama and frustration — mostly involving Harden and his teammates — started to build up in Houston.
Also, bringing a player of Harden’s caliber to Boston would have likely come with a huge price, possibly requiring the Celtics to pay a king’s ransom to the Rockets. In the hypothetical deal involving the scoring champion, the Rockets might have asked for the inclusion of Tatum or Jaylen Brown in the trade package, together with multiple future first-round picks.
Even if they decide not to go after Harden, the Celtics are still expected to be active on the market this offseason. Despite successfully reaching the Eastern Conference Finals last year, they still have plenty of things that they need to address on their roster, including their need for a starting-caliber center.