The relationship between James Harden and the Houston Rockets is rapidly becoming completely untenable.
Early in the offseason Harden informed his team that he wanted off the Rockets. Initially, he wanted to go to the Brooklyn Nets. When the Rockets refused to oblige because they felt like the returning package wasn’t good enough, Harden softened his stance and said he would be willing to go to one of several other teams.
One of the teams he is willing to go to? According to Kelly Iko and Sam Amick of The Athletic, the Boston Celtics are now high on the list.
“Sources told The Athletic that the Houston Rockets guard has recently deemed the Boston Celtics and Portland Trail Blazers among his preferred destinations,” they wrote.
“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.”
Unfortunately, it appears as though the positive feelings don’t go in both directions. When asked by a fan how he felt about a potential trade for Harden, Celtics forward Semi Ojeleye offered a blunt response.
“Honestly, I don’t know if he’d fit.”
For those wondering about the Semi Ojeleye quote floating around regarding Harden, here it is via his Twitch stream.
“What do you think about Harden rumors coming to Boston? Honestly, I don’t know if he’d fit.” pic.twitter.com/06UlVlesLY
— Chris Grenham (@chrisgrenham) December 25, 2020
Harden is obviously an incredible talent.
Last year the former league MVP averaged 34.3 points, 6.6 rebounds and 7.5 assists per outing while shooting 44 percent from the field, 35.5 percent from three and 86.5 percent from the free throw line. He would add immediate offensive firepower to any organization he joined.
— Game 7 (@game7__) December 23, 2020
That said – he comes with a lot of baggage. And if people on your team already don’t want to play alongside him, is he really worth the financial investment you’d need to make in him?
Harden is owed $41.3 million this season, $44.3 million next season, with a player option of $47.4 million for 2022-23. That is a big price to pay for someone who has the propensity to be a selfish diva when he doesn’t get his way.
Harden will definitely get traded sooner rather than later. But based on the way things are currently going, it doesn’t appear as though Boston will be where he ultimately ends up.