Getty Images James Harden and the Houston Rockets are splitsville but will the Boston Celtics step in with an offer?
When it comes to assessing the potential James Harden to Boston situation; there are two questions you need to ask yourself:
One, is the Boston Celtics a surefire title-contending team with the likes of Harden? And two, can the Celtics win a title with its current team intact?
Further complicating things; it’s safe to say neither is anywhere close to a guarantee – which is what makes the decision all the more difficult. For most Celtics fans; they’re torn.
Decisions, Decisions: James Harden To Boston For Jaylen Brown Or No Harden To Celtics At All?
Torn between seeing their favorite team trade away one half of a young, bright tandem in Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown. Or, they’re just not sold on the idea of seeing Harden donning green-and-white and running isolation plays with Tatum and Kemba Walker standing around at TD Garden wondering if they were better off with the initial 2020-21 Celtics roster.
Maybe the end result of that roster trumps a team led by one of the game’s greatest scoring guards of all-time – that’s the biggest fear, for most fans. Seeing it all crumble before ever finding out if a Tatum & Brown duo was destined for greatness or not.
Given the magnitude of the turmoil in Houston, the Rockets shouldn’t rush into doing anything, at this point. In due time, the best deal will come along, however, it shouldn’t take too long, if you’re Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge.
James Harden To Boston For Kemba Walker?
If Harden is, in fact, intriguing enough for Ainge, he may be able to acquire the 2018 NBA MVP without splitting up his bright dynamic duo. Walker’s great reputation as a team leader and a tenacious scorer with All-Star caliber talent would bode well with the likes of Rockets guard John Wall, even if it means having one of the smaller backcourts in West.
And it wouldn’t be the first time the Celtics parted ways with a player due to health concerns. In 2017, the well-documented split between Boston and Isaiah Thomas was a controversial move, to say the least, but without it, the Celtics may not have been considered contenders, at all, prior to Gordon Hayward and Kyrie Irving’s respective injuries.
Boston’s been fortunate and if this is a similar situation where the Celtics can unload Kemba’s deal along with young role players and future draft picks to appease the Rockets, then Ainge will do just that if Kemba’s injury means he’ll never be the same player.
Walker, who reportedly was targeting a January 15 return date this Friday, hopes to return to All-Star form; the point guard he was for Boston throughout most of 2019-20.
If Ainge doesn’t believe so, what’s going to stop him from trading for Harden? A couple of things, including how much Houston values Walker, in contrast to how much faith Celtics president of basketball operations has in James.
Celtics’ Danny Ainge Enjoying The Fruits Of His Labor In Jayson Tatum & Jaylen Brown
Unless Danny is sold that another championship is a lock with Harden at the helm, he won’t reel in a superstar on a whim. He’s got to feel it in his bones that The Beard is the team-changing superstar that’s missing.
Otherwise, Ainge will wait it out. And I don’t blame him, I mean, what’s the rush? Tatum and Brown are not only under 25-years-old, but they’re also both, respectively, signed through 2024.
And, after their help guided the Celtics to two of the last three Eastern Conference finals’ they’ve earned the right to steer the ship. Instead of bringing in a superstar to lead for them.
Also, let’s not forget how the Celtics earned the right to draft Tatum and Brown; through a deal, most NBA GMs wouldn’t have the cojones to pull off: trading a pair of revered Hall of Famers in Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett to the Nets for a treasure trove of assets and first-round picks. Danny wouldn’t want a superstar like Harden to come in and disrupt things.
Averaging a combined 53.2 points per game while topping the Eastern Conference (7-3) standings, Tatum (26.9) and Brown (26.3) continue to ascend – which is why it’s best for the Celtics to see it through with these two.
In fact, there’s still plenty of time.
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