Could the Boston Celtics have acquired James Harden from the Oklahoma City Thunder before the season started? No they couldn’t have, as the Celtics filled out their roster well ahead of the season’s opening night.
However, if the team had known that the Thunder were going to make Harden available, I bet GM Danny Ainge would have made a conscious effort to acquire the budding superstar from Oklahoma City. Harden would obviously be a great fit for most teams, but his fit with the Celtics would have been seamless.
In acquiring Harden, Boston would have had another young player to build around as they move into the future without Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett. That would have left them with a nucleus of Harden, Rajon Rondo, presumably Jeff Green, and other parts, depending on who would have hypothetically been traded to Oklahoma City.
The team probably would have had to trade at least one of their draft picks and probably both from last year, plus Avery Bradley to even get their foot in the door with the conversations. Even then I am not sure that would have been enough to tempt GM Sam Presti, but at least they were making an effort to look further into the situation.
The Celtics still have a nice outlook for the future, but besides Rondo, they don’t really have a core player that you could safely build around as the years move on. Bradley and Jared Sullinger are nice players, but they are not cornerstone players that would be deemed untouchable.
James Harden would have been a great fit for the Boston Celtics, but the timing was just not right and the Thunder ended up moving him to the Houston Rockets.
Rob Lunder covers the Boston Celtics for Rant Sports. For all Celtics news go to the team homepage on Rant Sports. Follow him on Twitter @rlunder18