Report: Harden adds Celtics as a 'preferred destination' originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston
As the old saying goes, the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence.
For disgruntled NBA superstar James Harden, one of the teams where the grass is greener... is now the Green Team.
As the former MVP tries to force his way out of Houston, he has reportedly added Boston to his list of "preferred destinations" according to The Athletic's Sam Amick and Kelly Iko. The Trail Blazers are another recent addition to the list, which also includes some of the C's biggest Eastern Conference rivals: the Nets, 76ers, Heat, and Bucks.
Just because Boston is now on Harden's list doesn't mean Celtics fans should expect a trade anytime soon, however. According to the report, "the viability of a possible deal with the Celtics or Trail Blazers is unclear at this time."
While the Celtics have reportedly had exploratory talks with the Rockets about Harden, the 31-year-old comes with a heavy price tag in many ways: his contract, the cost to acquire him... and his off-the-court drama.
First, the contract: Harden still has two years and over $85 million left on his existing deal, plus a $47.3 million player option for the 2022-23 season. Then there's the cost. Any potential package for the three-time scoring champ would include a treasure trove of assets, from established players like Jaylen Brown and Marcus to future first-round draft picks.
Finally, the off-the-court drama. Where do we even start? He's currently quarantining for four days after attending a private party which allegedly took place at a strip club, violating the league's health and safety protocols. He was fined $50,000 for his actions and the Rockets' season-opener against the Thunder was postponed. And that's not all. Harden also had a heated exchange with rookie Jae'Sean Tate at practice this week, throwing a ball in the rookie's direction.
All of those aforementioned reasons make Harden ending up in Boston seem unlikely -- but there's no denying his talent. Harden is an eight-time All-Star who has averaged 33.7 points per game over the last three seasons.
But even though the Celtics are among his "preferred destinations," that doesn't mean Danny Ainge would prefer to do everything it would take to bring Harden to Boston.