It was inevitable that James Harden was going to get traded this season. But that didn’t stop this blockbuster trade from being a surprise. It sounds like this deal came down to a bidding war between the Nets and Sixers and Houston preferred the truckload of picks package over a deal involving Ben Simmons and stuff.
From the Nets perspective, they decided to go all-in on star players. I don’t have to remind anyone here what happened the last time they went all in on a picks-heavy trade, but they were willing to do it again.
So what does all this mean to the Celtics? A few things come to mind.
As far as we know, the Celtics were never seriously in on the James Harden trade.
We’ve heard as much from Steve Bulpett and others. Today Chris Mannix elaborated:
“Under no circumstances if you’re Boston do you make any kind of offer that includes Jaylen Brown. That was really the Celtics’ mindset for the last couple of months. There was no significant interest in a deal that involved Jaylen Brown. The Celtics are simply operating on a completely different timetable than the Brooklyn Nets. Their stars are Kevin Durant at 32 [years old] and Kyrie Irving at 29. You’ve got the Celtics with [Marcus] Smart, [Jayson] Tatum, Brown, a whole bunch of younger guys they’re trying to develop in their mid to early 20s.
Hard to argue with that reasoning. I just never saw the timeline lining up with Tatum and Harden. You don’t know how it would go for the next two years and after that Harden could be gone and Brown would likely be thriving elsewhere. I get the talent, I’m not a Harden hater, I just didn’t see the timeline fit.
So are the Nets the team to beat now?
They might be, or it could all go sideways. No question, the high end talent on this team is incredible. Two MVPs and one perennial All NBA guy with just enough supporting cast left over. They also have roster spots open and can add depth on the edges in a number of ways. Talent wins in this league and they have a whole lot of talent. Enough to win a title or two or three.
With all that said, a whole lot can go wrong with this group. Chemistry, conditioning, injuries, and [waves hands vaguely in the air] other stuff are all variables that can’t be ignored as part of the equation. And if everything does go south, the only other avenue for getting better is to trade one or more of those guys because there are no more picks left.
Basically Brooklyn is betting big with a lot at stake.
What else will Houston do?
The big star is gone, the rebuilding has begun, so now come the vultures.
Multiple teams have inquired about P.J. Tucker’s availability and have expressed interest in acquiring the veteran forward, sources tell @TheAthletic.— Kelly Iko (@KellyIkoNBA) January 13, 2021
I’d be shocked if the Celtics weren’t one of those teams asking about Tucker. The Rockets also have Eric Gordon and the newly acquired Victor Oladipo (whom the Celtics were rumored to be interested in as part of the Gordon Hayward sign and trade talks). Just something to keep an eye on.
Who’s the next star that will demand a trade?
Well, Bradley Beal is the logical choice. Could or should the Celtics get involved in that discussion? In particular since he’s close friends with our very own Jayson Tatum? You can bet that they’ll be part of the discussion if and when Washington finally puts him on the market. The guess here, though, is that the bidding war will be through the roof.
Would Boston be willing to trade Jalen Brown and future picks for Beal? And would that even be the best offer Washington would get? Good questions to debate in the comments!
This certainly was an interesting day in the NBA. We’ll have to see how much this impact the Celtics.