James Harden to the Boston Celtics – The Probable Trade Package That Would Complete the Move

Published 12/25/2020, 5:15 AM EST
Dec 15, 2020; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Rockets guard James Harden (13) passes the ball over San Antonio Spurs forward LaMarcus Aldridge (12) and guard Lonnie Walker IV (middle right) and guard Dejounte Murray (5) during the first half. Mandatory Credit: Mike Wyke/Pool Photo via USA TODAY Sports


The 2020-21 NBA season has begun, but James Harden still wants to pack his bags and move out of Houston. The unsettled shooting guard demanded a trade away from the franchise and named a few preferred destinations to suit his liking. Well, the list just got upgraded, and the Boston Celtics are in the mix too! 

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Initially, it was just the Brooklyn Nets and the Philadelphia 76ers, but Harden has now expanded his radar to two other teams. Here’s what Sam Amick and Kelly Iko of ‘The Athletic’ reported on Christmas Eve: 

“Sources told The Athletic that the Houston Rockets guard has recently deemed the Boston Celtics and Portland Trail Blazers among his preferred destinations. Brooklyn and Philadelphia were the first teams to receive that distinction back in mid-December, followed by Miami and Milwaukee being added in the weeks thereafter.”

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James Harden to the Boston Celtics: Will it work?

This speculation has caught everyone off guard! How will the Celtics make room for a player like James Harden? Will he fit into Brad Stevens’ system or will it cause turmoil? A lot of other questions besides these ring in one’s mind after hearing about Harden’s decision. 

Harden’s been the cornerstone of the Rockets franchise for several years now, and it would obviously feel strange talking about him suiting up for a team other than Houston. Since ‘The Beard’ is open to joining Boston, what are the probable trade deals? 

The major hindrance here is that the Boston Celtics have gelled quite well together as a unit. Their young core lit up the league last season, and they would hope to replicate a similar form in 2021 as well. 

Dec 18, 2020; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Boston Celtics center Robert Williams III (44) exchanges jerseys with Brooklyn Nets guard Kyrie Irving (11) at the end of the game at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

But imagine a player like Harden running the lines along with a star like Jayson Tatum on the wing. He’d have the prowess of Kemba Walker with him on the backcourt and they would tear past defenses.

These moments will probably prevail if Harden joins the Celtics, and it is an enticing possibility indeed. But what can the Cs offer to the Rockets in return for the 3x Scoring Champion? 

Possible trade packages for Harden

The Celtics have groomed a wonderful trio in Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, and Kemba Walker. However, they’d have to part with at least one of these stars to land a quality player like Harden. 

This scenario demands an ‘eye for an eye,’ and probably a few more since Harden is valued more. The only probable way for the Celtics to lure Harden into the team is by giving up two starters. 

Dec 15, 2020; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Rockets guard James Harden leaves the court after a victory over the San Antonio Spurs. Mandatory Credit: Mike Wyke/Pool Photo via USA TODAY Sports

Tatum is off the cards and it is clear that the Celtics want to invest in him for the future. Furthermore, Walker too will not be traded out owing to his point guard duties with the team. That leaves Jaylen Brown and Marcus Smart.

Celtics Get: James Harden

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Rockets Get: Jaylen Brown, Marcus Smart, 2021 first-round pick, and 2022 first-round pick. 

Brown signed an extension a year before Tatum, but it is clear that the Celtics have to make a few tough choices to bring in Harden. This package feels apt for the 2018 MVP, but a formal agreement is yet to be made by both parties. 

If the Rockets demand more assets in return for James Harden, the Celtics might have to send out Daniel Theis too. This would massively improve the Rockets’ roster in several aspects. Who would be the winner in this trade?

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Arjun Athreya

1794 articles

Arjun Athreya is a senior writer at Essentially Sports and has been contributing since early 2020. Having developed an avid interest in sports at an early age, he pursued a Journalism degree and graduated from Madras Christian College. Arjun manages the Golf division and its content, and primarily covers news pertaining to the NBA as well.

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