As the 2020-21 NBA season draws closer, rumors surrounding Houston Rockets superstar James Harden continue to heat up. When he demanded a trade from the Rockets, two teams immediately emerged as favorite landing spots for "The Beard" -- the Brooklyn Nets and the Philadelphia 76ers. Unfortunately, the Nets don't have enough assets to convince the Rockets to engage in a blockbuster deal, while the Sixers were hesitant to include Ben Simmons in the trade package.
After the Nets and the Sixers failed to secure a deal with the Rockets, two teams have replaced them as new "favorites" to land "The Beard." In a Twitter post, ESPN 97.5 Houston radio host John Granato revealed that the Boston Celtics and the Toronto Raptors are now the top two trade destinations for Harden.
"An impeccable source says the Raptors and the Celtics are the favorites right now for James Harden. It'd be a package for Pascal Siakam and more or Jaylen Brown and more."If they are indeed willing to sacrifice Siakam and Brown, the Celtics and the Raptors would undeniably be in a strong position to add Harden to their roster before the 2021 trade deadline. Siakam and Brown perfectly fit the description of an All-Star-caliber player that the Rockets are looking for in any potential trade package for the former MVP. By acquiring Siakam or Brown, the Rockets would have a new centerpiece for the next title-contending team that they're trying to build in Houston.
Also, if Siakam or Brown meshes well with their core of John Wall, Christian Wood, DeMarcus Cousins, and Danuel House Jr., the Rockets would have a realistic chance of fully dominating the loaded Western Conference and bringing home the Larry O'Brien Trophy in the 2020-21 NBA season.
Meanwhile, though it remains a big question mark if they are really willing to part ways with Siakam and Brown, trading for Harden makes a lot of sense for the Celtics and the Raptors. Both teams may be considered legitimate playoff contenders in the Eastern Conference, but they aren't viewed on the same level as other powerhouse teams like the Brooklyn Nets, Milwaukee Bucks, and the Miami Heat.
Acquiring an MVP-caliber player like Harden could dramatically change their fate next season. However, targeting "The Beard" also comes with a huge risk. If things don't go as they hope, they wouldn't only be losing precious assets, but it could also lead to a long title drought.