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NBA rumors: Boston Celtics did discuss Jaylen Brown in James Harden trade talks

Jan 15, 2021; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Boston Celtics guard Jaylen Brown (7) attempts a basket against Orlando Magic forward James Ennis III (11) during the third quarter at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Brian Fluharty-USA TODAY Sports

Boston Celtics general manager Danny Ainge fed into NBA rumors this past weekend suggesting that his team did engage in trade talks with the Houston Rockets for James Harden.

By now, you already know that Harden was dealt to the Brooklyn Nets in a four-team trade last week that brought back four first-round picks as the centerpieces for Houston. Boston had apparently been involved in Harden trade talks for some time ahead of that deal materializing.

However, we have some more interesting information on Boston’s involvement. It includes one of their star young players and centerpieces.

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Celtics did in fact discuss Jaylen Brown in trade talks for James Harden

NBA rumors: Celtics included Jaylen Brown in James Harden trade talks
Jan 17, 2021; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; New York Knicks guard Elfrid Payton (6) defends against Boston Celtics guard Jaylen Brown (7) in the second quarter at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

ESPN’s Brian Windhorst made this claim on his recent Hoop Collective podcast, noting that Brown was discussed as a potential target for the Rockets. There’s no telling how far the talks got from there.

What we do know is that Ainge has been steadfast in his unwillingness to trade either Brown or fellow star Jayson Tatum. In the past, that included talks for the likes of Kawhi Leonard and Anthony Davis. That’s despite NBA rumors linking these Celtics to both star players.

It’s highly unlikely Ainge seriously considered moving off Brown for a volatile personality such as Harden when he wouldn’t pull the trigger for either Leonard or Davis.

This comes on the heels of previous reports suggesting that the Rockets’ asking price from the Philadelphia 76ers for James Harden was seen as too pricey. While Philadelphia was willing to discuss Ben Simmons, it would not part with stud rookie Tyrese Maxey in a package for Harden.

Related: Winners/losers from James Harden trade

NBA rumors will continue to link the Celtics to deals ahead of trade deadline

NBA rumors: Boston Celtics trade
Jan 4, 2021; Tampa, Florida, USA; Boston Celtics forward Jayson Tatum (0) and guard Jaylen Brown (7) and forward Grant Williams (12) high five during the second quarter against the Toronto Raptors at Amalie Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Despite not pulling the trigger on a Harden trade, the expectation here is that Ainge and Co. will be active ahead of the March NBA trade deadline. Boston currently boasts the second-best record in the Eastern Conference at 8-4. Both Brown and Tatum have morphed into legitimate stars.

The time is now to pull off moves that could help these Celtics challenge the loaded Brooklyn Nets, among other top-end teams, in the conference.

While it would be on a much lower scale, Boston has assets that could add to its talented core group. Young big men Robert Williams and Grant Williams as well as guards Carsen Edwards, Romeo Langford and Aaron Nesmith could be of interest to other teams here in the next couple months.