Rockets All-Star Guard James Harden, the conversation of this young 2020/21 season for a variety of reasons, expanded its NBA commercial destination wish list to include the Trail Blazers and Celtics, according to Atletico’s Kelly Iko and Sam Amick.
The Nets, Sixers, Heat and Bucks were the four teams that Harden previously identified as preferred landing sites. The Heat reportedly stopped hasty negotiations over a Harden deal, apparently refusing the Rockets’ asking price. The Bucks must also not chase Harden.
Finding salaries equal to Harden’s in an exchange is no small feat. The 31-year-old has two guaranteed years remaining on his current maximum contract and holds a $ 47.4 million player option for the 2022/23 season.
The Trail Blazers, led by the All-Star point guard Damian Lillard and talented sniper guard CJ McCollum, impressed during his run for the 2019 Western Conference finals. Although he has not yet joined an All-Star team, 29-year-old McCollum may be the kind of high-profile scoring target around which Portland could start. building an exchange. Last season, with Lillard clearly the focal point of Portland’s attack, McCollum averaged 22.2 PPG, 4.4 APG, 4.2 RPG, 0.8 SPF and 0.6 BPG, while posting a line of shot of .451 / .379 / .757.
The Celtics have appeared in the Eastern Conference finals for three of the past four seasons. Advanced All-Star Jayson Tatum is almost certainly untouchable in any deal with Harden, but the versatile 24-year-old striker Jaylen Brown, which emerged as a two-way force, may appeal to Houston.
Iko and Amick note that the Rockets talked to teams that are not on Harden’s favorite landings list. Nuggets are in this group. Denver did not star guard Jamal Murray available in commercial discussions yet, although the Rockets remain intrigued with the second year ahead Michael Porter Jr.