BOSTON (CBS) — James Harden wants out of Houston. As in, willing-to-forego-$50 million-per-year levels of wanting out of Houston.
And though the initial reports indicated that Harden wanted to team up with Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving in Brooklyn, there was also some speculation that Danny Ainge and the Celtics could get themselves involved in some way.
Whether or not that was true remains unknown. But longtime Celtics reporter Steve Bulpett reported on Thursday that the Celtics did their homework on the disgruntled superstar. Apparently, the C’s were told to stay far away.
“I’m told from a western source @Celtics actually did some research on James Harden to decide if they should pursue a trade discussion,” Bulpett wrote. “They were strongly advised to keep away. The word on how things slipped apart in Houston didn’t paint a lot of people in a very good light.”
I'm told from a western source @Celtics actually did some research on James Harden to decide if they should pursue a trade discussion… They were strongly advised to keep away. The word on how things slipped apart in Houston didn't paint a lot of people in a very good light.
— Steve Bulpett (@SteveBHoop) November 19, 2020
Harden, 31, is a three-time scoring champion, eight-time All-Star, seven-time All-NBA, and the 2018 NBA MVP. He’s led the league in scoring in each of the past three seasons, averaging 33.7 points per contest. He’s averaged 29.7 points per game in the playoffs over those same years, but the Rockets failed to reach the conference finals all three times.
General manager Daryl Morey left the team following the 2020 postseason, and head coach Mike D’Antoni did the same. With some wholesale changes in the organization, both Harden and Russell Westbrook have reportedly been looking to get traded.
With that talent, plenty of teams will surely be interested. But based on Thursday’s report, the Celtics won’t be in on Harden.