As it turns out, those trade rumors about James Harden and the Boston Celtics were true.
Harden on Wednesday was dealt from the Houston Rockets to the Brooklyn Nets in a blockbuster trade that was so NBA. Danny Ainge, appearing Thursday morning on 98.5 The Sports Hub’s “Toucher & Rich” show, confirmed the Celtics tossed around the idea of trading for Harden.
“We had conversations regarding James (Harden) — not recently, but yeah. We did have conversations,” the Celtics president of basketball operations said, as transcribed by NBC Sports Boston’s Darren Hartwell.
“We had numerous talks, but the price really wasn’t changing. The price was really high for us. It was just something we didn’t want to do. … Even the people within our organization that respected him and wanted him more — I think unanimously we decided it wasn’t the time for us and it wasn’t the price.”
Harden is an impressively unlikable superstar, but he nonetheless is one of the most talented scorers in NBA history. It was easy to envision the Celtics as title contenders with him in the fold.
But, given the likely cost (Jaylen Brown) and all the baggage attached to Harden, Boston fans likely are pleased the team went in a different direction.
As for the Nets, they now have the arguably the greatest “big three” in basketball history but are left with a situation that might not be worth the trouble. Kyrie Irving reportedly is angry with the team about a bunch of stuff and is willing to sit out the remainder of the season. First-year head coach Steve Nash already seemingly was in way over his head, and now he has to deal with Harden.
Good luck, Brooklyn.