By Alex Barth, 985TheSportsHub.com
The debate over whether or not the Celtics should trade for James Harden has been a main focus of the discourse surrounding the team for over a month now. Thursday night’s report that Harden has added Boston to his list of preferred destinations only fanned the flames of that debate.
There are some who believe that, in a talent driven league like the NBA, acquiring Harden is the only way the Celtics can finally get over the top. On the other side some argue that while such a deal may make the team better in the short-term, Harden’s unpredictable nature would hurt the teams chemistry and ultimately set them back, similar to what happened with Kyrie Irving.
Late Thursday night, a current member of the Celtics shared his thoughts on the matter. While they were certainly brief, he seems to be siding with that second group.
Speaking with fans on his Twitch account on Christmas Eve, Semi Ojeleye was asked what he thinks of the Harden-to-Boston rumors.
“Honestly, I don’t know if he would fit,” Ojeleye said, before quickly moving on to another question.
For those wondering about the Semi Ojeleye quote floating around regarding Harden, here it is via his Twitch stream.— Chris Grenham (@chrisgrenham) December 25, 2020
“What do you think about Harden rumors coming to Boston? Honestly, I don’t know if he’d fit.” pic.twitter.com/06UlVlesLY
While it’s been a common talking point externally, this is the first time anybody within the Celtics organization has mentioned Harden’s fit being an issue (or acknowledged the rumors at all). If one player is saying Harden might not mesh with the roster, he’s likely not alone in feeling that way.
Ojeleye was the only Celtic to openly comment on the Harden rumors, but he wasn’t alone in his message. Shortly after the Harden news broke, Jaylen Brown posted a picture to his Instagram story of him flexing with a frustrated Harden in the background.
From JB’s Instagram tonight. Damn straight. pic.twitter.com/Gh7Rzkn3gG— Jonah Michael (@JonahB1793) December 25, 2020
This one is a bit more open to interpretation. Is it meant to be Brown celebrating the news Harden could be joining the Celtics? Or showing he and the team can be successful without the eight-time All Star? Only adding to the intrigue is the fact that if the Celtics were to trade for Harden, Brown would likely be the centerpiece of what the Rockets would receive in return.
Would what either of these player reactions impact any potential pursuit by Danny Ainge? Likely not. But Ojeleye’s comment is notable in that it confirms many fans worries that Harden’s talent isn’t worth his trouble.
As the Harden rumors continue to stir, those hoping the Celtics stay out of the sweepstakes can take comfort in knowing at least one member of the team is on their side.
Alex Barth is a writer and digital producer for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Thoughts? Comments? Questions? Looking for a podcast guest? Let him know on Twitter @RealAlexBarth or via email at Alexander.Barth@bbgi.com.