Celtics Declined Trade Offer for Member of Nets ‘Big 3’ Last Season: Report

James Harden, Jaylen Brown

Getty Jaylen Brown goes up for a layup against DeAndre Jordan of the Nets.

The Brooklyn Nets shook up the NBA landscape when they pulled off a trade that landed them 9-time All-Star James Harden. After all, they pulled it off without giving up Kyrie Irving or Kevin Durant. But what was even more impressive was that they were able to pull off the trade while other teams with way more disposable assets were suitors of Harden as well.

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Celtics Were Unwilling to Trade Jaylen Brown for James Harden

Most teams were willing to break the bank to acquire Harden. After all, the chance to have a former NBA Most Valuable Player on your roster does not come around every day. But that wasn’t the case for Boston Celtics’ former general manager Danny Ainge. ESPN analyst Kendrick Perkins says that while the Celtics were in the running for Harden they were willing to pass if it meant trading their star guard Jaylen Brown.

“I remember last year around this time when teams were calling about James Harden and Houston actually wanted Jaylen Brown. I was on the phone with Danny Ainge for an hour, and I remember how our conversation went. He was like, ‘Hey, Perk, would you trade Jaylen Brown for James Harden?’ And I was like, ‘Danny, you know how I feel about Jaylen Brown, but I would trade him for James Harden.’ He was like, ‘ Are you kidding me? He’s not going anywhere. He’s not even 25 and he keeps getting better,'” Perkins said during a recent appearance on Celtics Pregame Live per NBC Sports.

“And then all of a sudden, Danny didn’t make the trade, [Jaylen] made the All-Star team, had a breakout year, and now he just keeps getting better. Jaylen Brown is a true professional, he works hard, and people say he’s under-appreciated, but I would say people appreciate him now.”‘

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James Harden Was Ready to Do ‘Whatever’ It Took to Beat Sixers

Both the Nets and Philadelphia 76ers have been no strangers to drama to kickoff this NBA season. Naturally, emotions were riding high on both sides for the Sixers home opener. Brooklyn was able to rally back from down 14 points to get their first win of the season against the Sixers on Friday night. Harden is happy that he and his teammates were able to bounce back from their opening night blowout.

“We knew as an organization and a team that they’re going through whatever they’re going through so we knew there was going to be a lot of emotion in here. For us, we just wanted to win. We wanted to come in here and do whatever it took to win,” Harden said after the win per NetsDaily. “We didn’t play well during our first game, so we wanted to bounce back and put it together.”

Nets Are Learning to Win by Committee

A lot had to go right for the Nets to leave Philadelphia with their first win. With Kyrie still out, the Nets have had to learn to win in a different way than they are used to. That being by committee.

The contributions of veterans like LaMarcus Aldridge and Patty Mills were key in the Nets’ first win. Aldridge finished with 23 points and Mills is now a perfect 10/10 from three-point land this season. There is no telling when Kyrie will come back. But if there’s one bright spot for Nets fans it is that the team’s offseason pickups are starting to pay dividends early.

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