The inevitable may be upon us.
After months of speculation and rumors, a 17-point loss to the defending NBA Champion Los Angeles Lakers looks to be the straw that broke the camel’s back. Eight-time All-Star James Harden took to the podium post-game on Tuesday night to publicly voice his displeasure with the Houston Rockets organization.
Harden’s comments turned the basketball world on its head, leaving beat writers, insiders and fans alike firing up the NBA trade machine to draw up trade packages that could potentially yield the disgruntled superstar.
Yet, realistically there are only a handful of teams that have enough capital (i.e.: high-end talent, quality depth and draft picks), to even pique Houston’s interest.
One of those teams just so happens to be the Boston Celtics.
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Celtics Own 5th-Highest Odds to Land Harden
Back on Christmas Eve, it was reported that Harden added Boston to his short-list of preferred destinations. While a few weeks back reports surfaced that the Celtics engaged in a reported courtesy call with the Rockets.
Simply put, where there’s smoke there’s usually fire. This is why Boston finds itself ranked among the top-eight landing spots for Harden, which can be seen below via BetOnline.ag’s latest betting odds:
- Brooklyn Nets +125
- Philadelphia 76ers +225
- Portland Trail Blazers +500
- Golden State Warriors +800
- Boston Celtics +900 (⬆)
- Miami Heat +900
- Milwaukee Bucks +1000
- New Orleans Pelicans +1200
The question now becomes, do the Celtics, who currently sit in first place in the East, feel like Harden can take their team over the top? Or, does Boston view their current compilation of players as title-worthy?
Acquiring Harden would undoubtedly strip the Celtics of a slew of high-end young talent, namely rising star Jaylen Brown. Not to mention, pulling the trigger would likely gut a roster that already has it’s fair share of depth questions.
There are a number of other questions at hand, such as the long-term effects of swapping a 24-year-old Brown for a 31-year-old Harden, as well as bringing aboard an already disgruntled character. With that said, if Boston believes a generational talent such as Harden gives them the best chance of delivering their city it’s 18th Championship, they not only have to entertain a deal, they have to aggressively pursue one.
Harden: Rockets ‘Just Not Good Enough’
After Tuesday’s loss to Los Angeles, an agitated and defeated Harden took to the podium to fire off shots in the direction of his own team.
“We’re just not good enough. Chemistry, talent-wise. And it was clear these last two games,” Harden said, after dropping his second consecutive game to the Lakers. “I love this city. I’ve literally done everything I can. This situation is crazy. I don’t think it can be fixed. Thanks.”
Harden, who’s now seen his Rockets lose four of their last five games, doesn’t believe the team as it is currently constructed has what it takes to compete with the NBA elites.
“We’re not even close, honestly, to that team — obviously the defending champions — and all the other elite teams out there,” Harden said. “I mean, you can tell the difference in these last two games.”
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