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Celtics entered Rockets’ trade talks for James Harden before Nets pulled trigger on deal

James Harden, Celtics, Rockets, Nets, Sixers

The Sixers, Rockets, and Nets know the James Harden saga has definitely had its twist and turns, from Harden’s late arrival to preseason play down to the trade itself all the way to fans discussing whether or not Harden wore a fat suit prior to the trade. The situation had its drama, and according to The Athletic, the Celtics were involved in the theatrics.

Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge downplayed his team’s involvement in the trade, indicating that there hadn’t been any recent communication between the teams prior to Harden being traded to the Nets.

“Yeah, we had conversations regarding James, not recently but yeah, we did have conversations,” Ainge said. “We (Celtics) had numerous talks, but the price really wasn’t changing. The price was really high for us, and it was something we really didn’t want to do… I think unanimously, we decided it wasn’t time for us and it wasn’t the price.”

Still, sources say there were multiple configurations of a deal still possible between the Celtics and Rockets but, just like other suitors in the Harden saga, the Celtics were unable to ever gain any ground. 

There have been reports that teams involved in the Harden trade talks who weren’t named the Nets felt their ultimate purpose in the negotiations was to provide the Rockets the leverage needed to maximize the return with the Nets– despite their strong interest in landing Harden. 

James Harden is definitely worth the hype for most teams, but his role on this current Celtics team could’ve gone two ways: either propelling them into the NBA Finals or busting up their locker room– a scene that has already been acted out in 2019.

Either way, the Celtics now have the three-headed monster of Harden, Kevin Durant, and Kyrie Irving standing in their way of getting to the NBA Final.

How the Celtics fare in that battle is yet to come.