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Report: Celtics, Blazers now James Harden’s preferred trade destinations

The carousel goes round and round ... where will the Rockets disgruntled superstar want to land today? Nobody knows!

James Harden of the Houston Rockets looks on during the second half of a game against the San Antonio Spurs at the Toyota Center on December 17, 2020 in Houston, Texas. Pool Photo-USA TODAY Sports

The latest in the James Harden saga is coming from Sam Amick of The Athletic. Apparently, the Houston Rockets’ forlorn superstar prefers to be traded to the Boston Celtics or the Portland Trail Blazers this time around. This of course comes after a fine from the NBA for violating health and safety protocols for Covid-19. This of course comes after Harden reportedly threw a basketball at a rookie during practice before the season. This of course comes after the Rockets-Thunder season opener was canceled due to Covid-19.

It wasn’t too long ago that reports were saying that Harden wanted a trade and the Brooklyn Nets and Philadelphia 76ers were the preferred destinations. I guess neither team wants him anymore? Whatever could be the reason for that?! Hmmmm. Harden then was linked to the Miami Heat and Milwaukee Bucks. Jimmy Butler probably shot that idea down fast. The Bucks would have liked this information before dealing for Jrue Holiday.

So now the latest teams are the Celtics and the Blazers. Let’s dive into it! So a trade to Boston makes zero sense for both sides. Harden doesn’t seem like the type of coachable player that would thrive under Brad Stevens at all. The Celtics would likely have to give up multiple future picks, one of Marcus Smart or Jaylen Brown, and then a few young pieces, perhaps Robert Williams and/or Payton Pritchard or Aaron Nesmith. There’s no way the Rockets would take back Kemba Walker, which is probably the preferred player the Celtics would want to get rid of at this point.

The Blazers would need to let go of CJ McCollum in order to add Harden and I don’t even think Damian Lillard and Harden would work together. Russell Westbrook and James Harden didn’t work together! Portland also doesn’t have a ton of appealing assets to give up in such a deal. Gary Trent Jr.? Anfernee Simons? Zach Collins? Draft picks? That’s about it.

So really this seems like more click bait, not to say Amick is making stuff up. I just don’t see why anyone would want to add Harden, knowing the circus that will come with him, knowing his behavior needs to be checked, knowing he could leave after two seasons for nothing. No team will give up that kind of assets and the Rockets won’t accept some type of underpayment.