Boston Celtics

PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA - FEBRUARY 06: James Harden #13 of the Brooklyn Nets drives against Ben Simmons #25 of the Philadelphia 76ers during the third quarter at Wells Fargo Center on February 06, 2021 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images)

One of the wildest NBA trade deadlines in recent history was of course highlighted by one of the biggest single trades in recent memory. In a deal months in the making, the Brooklyn Nets traded James Harden along with Paul Millsap to the Philadelphia 76ers in exchange for disgruntled All-Star Ben Simmons, Seth Curry, Andre Drummond, and two future first-round picks.

Reports in recent weeks had indicated that Harden was growing tired of Brooklyn for a number of reasons, including Steve Nash’s coaching style and uncertainty surrounding Kyrie Irving. This is the second time in just over a calendar year Harden has been traded – he requested a trade from the Houston Rockets before the start of last season, with that request being granted in mid-January with the trade to Brooklyn.

As for Simmons, his issues with the Sixers date back to before the start of the season. Unhappy with the organization, Simmons held out of training camp. He briefly returned to practice at one point, but then quickly left citing mental health concerns. The Philadelphia front office had been working on trading him for months, holding out for an elite return for the one-time first-overall pick.

What does all of this mean for the Celtics, who find themselves in the middle of the pack of the Eastern Conference thanks to a six game winning streak? At 31-25, they’re currently in seventh place but just 4.5 games behind the first-place Miami Heat. They’re three games behind the Bulls and Cavaliers, who are tied for third.

Philadelphia suddenly becomes a much more formidable opponent. The Sixers are currently in fifth place in the East, two games up on Boston. They’ve already played three of four head-to-head meetings this season (the Celtics are 1-2 in those games) with the final regular season matchup right around the corner on Feb. 15 in Philly.

Meanwhile in Brooklyn, a team that once looked like a title contender now has a number of question marks. The Nets entered the trade deadline in eighth place in the East, one game back of the Celtics. After splitting the first to matchups this season, the two teams meet twice more in the coming weeks – on Feb. 24 in Brooklyn, then Mar. 6 in Boston. According to ESPN Simmons still has “work to do” before he’ll be ready to play again, so it’s unclear if the Celtics would face him in either matchup.

As for the C’s, they were plenty busy in their own right on Thursday. The team made three trades before the 3 p.m. NBA trade deadline, highlighted by the acquisitions of guard Derrick White and center Daniel Theis.

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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

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