If you’re a Celtics fan that is hoping James Harden lands in Boston, Christmas may have come early for you.
The New York Times? Marc Stein reported that the Celtics have been in ?exploratory talks? for Harden. And while Boston is among a number of teams referenced by Stein, those who want Harden should be thrilled. After all, while it is far from a certainty, it is nonetheless a step in the direction to acquire his services.
The Rockets guard, as you know, does not seem happy in Houston. It’s caused Harden to be mentioned in trade rumors with the Philadelphia 76ers and Brooklyn Nets and now teams like the Toronto Raptors, Denver Nuggets and Celtics.
Stein, specifically, named a number of those teams in his New York Times story Tuesday:
The Heat let it be known this week that they are not actively pursuing Harden, which is a blow for the Rockets because Miami is one of those fearless teams with the oft-proven gumption to embrace an enigma like Harden in spite of the various red flags. The Sixers and the Nets, though, may not be the only other options: In recent days, it has become known that Toronto, Boston and Denver have also had exploratory talks with Houston.
Now, those who want Harden taking his next jump shots at TD Garden are well-aware of what he brings. (Disclaimer: This writer is not one of you.)
Harden is an NBA superstar, an eight-time All-Star, seven-time All-NBA honoree and has won three scoring titles three times and is the 2017 NBA MVP.
He’s one of the best shot-makers and scorers each and every season, and most recently he showed it by dropping 30-plus points in eight of the Rockets? 12 playoff games in the NBA’s Orlando bubble. He’s an organization-changing player in the short term, and one may argue he makes the 2020-21 Celtics exponentially better than their current roster.
That is, after all, the biggest reason to bring him to Boston, right?
Acquiring Harden from the Rockets would depict that Danny Ainge and the Celtics are pushing their chips to the center of the table these next three or so seasons. It would show Boston is over further developing players like Jaylen Brown, Marcus Smart and others. After all, Jayson Tatum will be around for the long-term, and that’s a few years away anyway.
It may even show the Celtics learned their lesson after holding on to young players and draft capital rather than landing Kawhi Leonard or Anthony Davis, just to name a few. Boston watched on as the former helped the Toronto Raptors to the NBA title two seasons ago and Anthony Davis complement the Los Angeles Lakers during their championship season in 2020.
So, if that’s what you want — a short-term title contender who stacks up with the Kevin Durant-Kyrie Irving star power in Brooklyn, the LeBron James-Davis Lakers and the Giannis Antetokounmpo-led Milwaukee Bucks — and you’re willing to sacrifice the long term, then you should be overjoyed with Tuesday’s credible report.