BOSTON (CBS) — If James Harden gets his wish and is traded by the Rockets, it looks like the Celtics are going to have to deal with the NBA’s reigning scoring champion more than they’re used to. Harden has reportedly added two more teams to his preferred destination list, and they’re both Boston rivals.
Harden has reportedly added the Milwaukee Bucks and the Miami Heat to his wish list, according to The Athletic’s Shams Charania, as the star guard tries to force his way out of Houston. Harden has already put the Philadelphia 76ers and the Brooklyn Nets on his list of preferred landing spots.READ MORE: Coronavirus In Massachusetts: Today's Developments
The Celtics will be battling with all four of those teams for Eastern Conference supremacy in 2020-21. If any of those teams add Harden to their roster, it would greatly sway the balance of power in the East on paper.
Imagine “The Beard” joining Giannis in Milwaukee, or being added to a Miami team that went to the Finals last season. None of those scenarios are ideal for the Celtics.
Harden torched Boston for 42 points in an 11-point victory in Houston last season. He didn’t have as much success in his visit to Boston, shooting just 7-for-24 overall and 4-for-17 from three-point range, but his 21 points helped Houston escape with a one-point victory.READ MORE: New Memorial In Worcester Honors Firefighters Killed In Line Of Duty
Still, Marcus Smart does tend to get the best of the scoring machine from time to time.
While Harden wants off of the Rockets after a tumultuous offseason, it doesn’t appear as though Houston has much urgency to deal him. The Rockets want a truckload in return for Harden, who averaged 34.3 points per game last season. Charania reported that Houston would want the Nets to send either Kyrie Irving or Kevin Durant back in any trade for Harden.
Over the last three seasons, the 31-year-old has averaged 33.7 points, 7.9 assists and 6.2 rebounds per contest.
The Celtics have been to the Eastern Conference Finals in three of the last four seasons, and are looking to finally get over the hump and make — and win — the Finals this season. Harden joining their competition in the East would complicate those matters considerably.MORE NEWS: 2 Extricated From Car After Crash In Medford