Boston Celtics

LAKE BUENA VISTA, FLORIDA - SEPTEMBER 11: Jaylen Brown #7 of the Boston Celtics and Marcus Smart #36 of the Boston Celtics react during the fourth quarter against the Toronto Raptors in Game Seven of the Eastern Conference Second Round during the 2020 NBA Playoffs at AdventHealth Arena at the ESPN Wide World Of Sports Complex on September 11, 2020 in Lake Buena Vista, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)

By Alex Barth,

On Wednesday, the Brooklyn Nets gave up a lot to get James Harden from the Houston Rockets. A lot as in, eight first-round picks a lot. What would the Celtics equivalent offer have been, if they had continued their pursuit of Harden?

According to Brian Robb of Boston Sports Journal, it would have been steep. Robb is reporting landing Harden would have cost Boston Jaylen Brown, Marcus Smart, and ‘multiple’ first round picks. Given what Brooklyn gave up, it’s safe to assume ‘multiple’ in this context doesn’t mean two or three.

Robb goes on to say that Boston declined that deal during the offseason, before seeing the leap Brown has made in 2021. The 24-year-old is averaging 26 points per game through 10 games, and is actually outscoring Harden. In addition, Smart has been thrust into the starting point guard role with Kemba Walker still recovering from a knee injury.

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Through the early portion of the season, the Celtics have been just fine without Harden. Behind the strong start from Brown and Jayson Tatum, the C’s boast an Eastern Conference-best 7-3 record. Meanwhile, the Rockets started just 3-6 before moving Harden to Brooklyn on Wednesday.

However, now Harden is in the Eastern Conference, and the Celtics will have to deal with him on a regular basis. Will that shake up the power balance of the conference? Brooklyn is currently 7-6 and dealing with plenty of drama outside of Harden, with point guard Kyrie Irving leaving the team and seemingly cutting off all lines of communication.

This isn’t the first time Danny Ainge has been reluctant to trade Brown for a superstar. To this point, that reluctance has paid off with Brown evolving into an elite scoring threat. Can he stay on that track? With Harden being 31-years-old, will Brown surpass him in the near future? Those questions will shape how this Celtics non-trade is viewed long term.

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Alex Barth is a writer and digital producer for 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