Report: James Harden adds Boston Celtics as “preferred destination”

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Houston Rockets v Boston Celtics
Photo by Omar Rawlings/Getty Images

As the world turns.

Currently, James Harden is in four-day isolation for violating the league’s COVID protocol. Harden attended a private party and is eligible to return on Saturday. That doesn’t mean that the former MVP is working behind the scenes on his potential departure from the Rockets. Per The Athletic’s Sam Amick and Kelly Iko, James Harden has added Boston to his list of “preferred destinations”:

James Harden’s holiday wish list has grown longer yet again, it seems. Such is life when you’re a disgruntled NBA star who’s hoping Santa leaves a trade of your liking under the tree this year.

Sources told The Athletic that the Houston Rockets guard has recently deemed the Boston Celtics and Portland Trail Blazers among his preferred destinations. Brooklyn and Philadelphia were the first teams to receive that distinction back in mid-December, followed by Miami and Milwaukee being added in the weeks thereafter.

Amick and Iko note that the “viability of a possible deal…is unclear at this time.” Harden has three years left on his max deal with a player option for 2022-2023 for nearly $47 million. The conventional wisdom is that any trade package for Harden is constituted in two forms: promising young players or a star player plus picks. For the Celtics, that could mean a package of Jaylen Brown and Marcus Smart or flipping Kemba Walker (who is still nursing a balky knee post-stem cell injection) and trade ballast for the eight-time All-Star.