BOSTON (CBS) — Whenever a blockbuster trade gets pulled off in the NBA, it usually takes roughly 30 seconds for a report that the Celtics were “close” in the negotiations to surface. That is not the case with Wednesday’s multi-team swap that landed James Harden in Brooklyn.
SI’s Chris Mannix reported Wednesday night that the Celtics did not want to include Jaylen Brown in a potential Harden megadeal with Houston, and Boston president of basketball ops. Danny Ainge essentially confirmed that Thursday morning on 98.5 The Sports Hub’s Toucher & Rich. Ainge didn’t name any names, but said that Houston’s asking price was too much for the Celtics.
“Yeah, we had conversations regarding James. Not recently, but yeah, we did have conversations,” said Ainge. “We had numerous talks, but the price really wasn’t changing. The price was really high for us, and it was just something we really didn’t want to do. Even the people within our organization that respected him and wanted him more, I think unanimously, we decided it wasn’t time for us and it wasn’t the price.”
The Celtics were mentioned in Harden rumors throughout the offseason, but in the end, it came down to the Nets and Philadelphia 76ers. The Nets paid a hefty bounty for Harden, sending Jarrett Allen and Caris LeVert, four first-round picks and four pick swaps out of Brooklyn for one of the league’s best scorers.
“He’s one of the best offensive players to play the game, in any era. James is a great player and I think every team in the league respects and fears him as an opponent,” Ainge said of Brooklyn’s new superstar.
Ainge probably would have loved to add Harden to the mix in Boston, but not if it cost the team the 24-year-old Brown, who continues to make strides toward superstardom.
According to Brian Robb of The Boston Sports Journal, Houston was asking Boston for Brown, Marcus Smart and draft compensation in return for Harden.