Judging by recent events, Boston Celtics fans and all other NBA members can see that James Harden really wants to leave the Houston Rockets organization as soon as possible.
The beard would have added two new teams to his list of coveted goals, including Boston Celtics and the Portland Trail Blazers. He also has the Philadelphia 76ers and the Brooklyn Nets on his shortlist, as well as other eastern contenders such as the Milwaukee Bucks and the Miami Heat.
With all these teams having the resources to trade one MVP, can you imagine what Harden would look like in the Celtics green?
Under Brad Stevens, the Celtics junior varsity team has become a serious contender for the title in recent years. In fact, last season they were only two victories away from a place in the final.
Will Harden be the last piece of the puzzle that will eventually push the Celtics over the cliff? Or will his iso-heavy game hurt the Boston team’s basketball system?
Despite the great risk that this blockbuster could entail, it would be wise for the Celts to at least consider such a scenario, especially if it occurs.
Although their current team is already a pretty impressive group, there is always room for improvement. No matter how controversial Harden has been in his career, it is undeniable that he is one of the most unreliable offensive players of this generation at its best.
Here is the best possible business scenario for the Celtics if they decide to trade with James Harden.
Celtic trade Jalen Brown, Marcus Smart, Daniel Theis, 2021 1st round pick, 2023 1st round Rockets pick for James Harden and PJ Tucker
While many Celtics fans will revolt at the thought of losing Brown, Harden’s commercial package will only be made with him as the centrepiece. Jason Tatum is virtually untouchable, especially after such a huge expansion. Houston already has a rookie guard with John Walla, so they probably won’t be interested in Kemba Walker.
If Brown can not make up for the loss of Harden, Clutch City will welcome a young athletic fencer who makes significant progress in his game each year. Brown is the border between the All-Stars and the Celtics, and he could achieve that status if he gets a leading role in Texas.
The Rockets are also keen to get their hands on Marcus Smart from Celtics, giving them a solid backcourts player who can play and defend both defensive positions. What’s more, the 26-year-old defensive player has developed a solid three-point shot that fits in well with Houston’s shot-blocking system.
The loss of Smart would probably be the most unfortunate loss for the Celtics, as he is practically the heart and soul of this team. However, for a megastar like Harden you can pay a very high price.
Daniel Theis is another player whose rating has risen after his strong performance last season. The Celtics acquired Tristan Thompson in the off-season, so a move of Theis could really free up a few minutes for Robert Williams or even Taco Fall. The Rockets are bringing some big men to town this year. It is therefore easy to integrate with the nephews and nieces of DeMarcus and Christian Wood.
Houston is unlikely to be satisfied with such a decision by the Celtics and will need new designs to seal the deal.
This is where it gets complicated for the Celtics, as Danny Ainge has worked hard to build up the future assets they now have. Once again, Houston has made it clear that it wants to be chosen in a contract with Harden in the first round, so Boston might have to cough up some of his flight.
Moreover, Harden puts them in win-lose mode, so that the thoughts of the reconstruction immediately disappear into the background. In 2021 and 2023 there should be plenty of choice in the first round, and the Rockets could even settle for a single Celtics pick.
While Boston fans may think they’re giving up too much for the eighth All-Star, PJ Tucker is also determined to give the Celtics another solid veteran who can make an immediate contribution.
Just like Harden, the 1.80m striker would be unhappy with his current situation in Houston and would like to get out of it. His versatility would fit perfectly with coach Brad Stevens, who plays stationless basketball with the Celtics.
Besides, his contract is over, so maybe they’ll let him go next season if it doesn’t work out with the Celtics.