January 15, 2021
NBA Rumors: Celtics GM Danny Ainge Speaks Up On Team's Failed Attempt To Acquire James Harden

After months of drama and frustrations, the James Harden saga has finally come to an end. In the latest blockbuster deal that involved four teams, Harden was given the opportunity to start a new journey with the Brooklyn Nets and chase his first NBA championship alongside Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving. Before the trade became official, "The Beard" had been linked to other title contenders, including the Boston Celtics.

In a recent appearance on 98.5 The Sports Hub's Toucher & Rich, Celtics president of basketball operations and general manager Danny Ainge talked about the rumors linking his team to Harden. Ainge confirmed that they had conversations with the Rockets regarding the All-Star shooting guard and revealed why the blockbuster deal failed to materialize.

"Yeah, we had conversations regarding James, not recently but yeah, we did have conversations," Ainge said. "We had numerous talks, but the price really wasn't changing. The price was really high for us, and it was something we really didn't want to do... I think unanimously, we decided it wasn't time for us and it wasn't the price."

Harden would have been an incredible addition to the Celtics. His arrival would have brought significant improvement to their performance on the offensive end of the floor, giving them a legitimate superstar who is battle-tested in the playoffs and capable of excelling and taking charge of the offense in crucial situations. However, though they are aware of how good "The Beard" is, it seems like Ainge and the Celtics' front office don't think that the Rockets' asking price for him was reasonable.

James Harden #13 of the Houston Rockets drives past Jayson Tatum #0 of the Boston Celtics during the first half of the game at TD Garden on February 29, 2020 in Boston, Massachusetts.
Getty Images | Maddie Meyer

Ainge didn't give further details regarding what type of assets the Rockets demanded from them in the potential blockbuster deal involving "The Beard." However, in a recent Twitter post, Brian Robb of The Boston Sports Journal revealed that the Rockets wanted the Celtics to send them a package that included Jaylen Brown, Marcus Smart, and future draft assets in exchange for Harden.

It's hardly surprising why Ainge and the Celtics refused to pay the Rockets' asking price. Brown is still far from reaching the level of Harden, but since he was selected as the No. 3 overall pick in the 2016 NBA Draft he has shown massive improvement in his game and has the potential to become a legitimate superstar in the league. Instead of moving him and Jayson Tatum, Ainge thinks that it would be best to find a way to surround them with quality players that would help them carry the team to the top of the Eastern Conference and end their title drought.