Following Wednesday’s trade, James Harden now has a new city. This city is not Boston, and that is a positive thing from a Boston Celtics point of view.
The James Harden saga has been one of the main talking points around the league for some time now. There’s been plenty going on regarding Harden, personally, and following the Russell Westbrook trade just before the start of the season, it seems evident that The Beard would be on his way out of Houston as well. This became a reality on Wednesday, as NBA reporters broke the news that a blockbuster deal had been agreed, which will see Harden join the Brooklyn Nets.
There was talk surrounding a few NBA teams in terms of where Harden would be dealt with. One of these teams was the Boston Celtics. While it never even seemed like a possible outcome, the Celtics are a team whose name always comes up in conversation when a superstar player looks like he’ll be traded. There would’ve definitely been trade packages that the Celtics could’ve come up with to land the 2018 MVP, but, from a Celtics standpoint, it wouldn’t be worth it.
There’s no doubt that Harden is one of the best players in the NBA, and that you’re going to have a chance to compete every year with him on your roster. But, looking at what Brooklyn had to give up to get him in four first-round picks and four first-round pick swaps, it’s a deal that the Celtics would’ve had to go all out for and completely nullify their drafts for the next so many years.
Yes, Harden would’ve been an unbelievable get for the Celtics, but with Jayson Tatum quickly becoming a top guy in this league, and Jaylen Brown on the right path to becoming the same, there’s no need to give up what you could get in the future to win right now. Tatum is 22, Brown is 24. You have star players who’ll be great for years to come. If you think about the assets that the Celtics have, and their ability to draft well, this franchise could become dominant and that dominance could last.
When you think about the Celtics as a franchise, you think about their runs in the sixties and the eighties. While those runs would be extremely hard to come by in today’s league, trading away future assets that could build you into a dynasty wouldn’t be a wise thing to do. This comes at a time where the Celtics are seeing real progression as a club. You need to keep that momentum and not just throw these assets that they’ve accumulated away for one piece, no matter how good Harden is.
On Thursday, Brian Robb of Boston Sports Journal reported that the asking price for Harden getting traded to the Boston Celtics would’ve been Jaylen Brown, Marcus Smart, and numerous first-round picks. Now, the picks themselves would’ve been hard to part ways with if you’re Celtics general manager Danny Ainge. But, to give up a franchise-caliber player in Brown and the heart and soul of your squad in Smart would be ridiculous. The Celtics are in a good spot and should by no means do anything drastic. They’ve got their guys, it’s just a matter of building around them without letting any bricks tumble down in the process.