Nothing screams NBA-less summer quite like mock trades. The latest from The Atheltic’s Zach Harper involved the Boston Celtics.
In the duo’s mock deal, the Celtics send Jaylen Brown to the Philadelphia 76ers in exchange for James Harden, who opted into his $35.6 million player option yesterday, just to request a trade.
“The internet has been trying to split up Brown and Jayson Tatum for years,” Harper pointed out. “Well, we actually did it. Maybe the old banners of Boston will inspire Harden in the postseason.”
In fairness to Harper, this is just a mock trade and not a report, as he was sure to stress earlier in his article. It truthfully would never be a report — the Celtics just simply wouldn’t do this.
Why the Boston Celtics should not trade Jaylen Brown for James Harden
There are plenty of stats that can back the anti-trade stance here, but why not look at the inconsistencies that fans watched just months prior to this post?
Harden and the 76ers just fell to the Celtics in seven games, crashing out of the playoffs in the Eastern Conference Semifinals. A large part of why the series ended the way it did was because of the former MVP — in both ways.
Philadelphia took a 3-2 lead over Boston after a dominant Game 5 win at TD Garden. Up until that point, their two previous wins could be chalked up to monster outings from Harden. He singlehandedly stunned the Celtics in Game 1, scoring 45 points including a game-winning 3-pointer over Al Horford, while an injured Joel Embiid looked on. Game 4 was almost the same story. Harden finished with 42 points, three of which came with just seconds to play, giving the 76ers yet another late-game lead.
Just days later the Sixers were headed home after getting run off the Garden floor in Game 7 — a game where Harden finished with just nine points while shooting 3/11 from the field. Throw in five turnovers on the side and you’ve got yourself a disasterclass.
The series got to Game 7, in part, because of another no-show by Harden in Game 6. With a chance for the 76ers to close out the series at home, sending their bitter rivals packing, The Beard posted just 13 points on a rough 4/16 shooting, again turning the ball over five times.
Sure, point to Brown’s dreadful Eastern Conference Finals performance, it’s fair. But up until that point he’d been solid throughout the postseason. Averaging 24 points on 54/47% shooting splits through the first two rounds.
Final Grade of Boston Celtics-Philadelphia 76ers trade: D-
The only way that this trade makes any sense is from a financial standpoint. Trade machines online will allow this one to go through. Good job!
Aside from that it doesn’t make a ton of sense for the Celtics. Aside from the aforementioned playoff rollercoaster that Boston got to witness first-hand, Harden has now requested a trade from three separate teams in four seasons.
Is that really the type of energy that a team looking to win a title needs? Probably not.
Brown isn’t perfect — make no mistake. He’s got to tighten his handle and clean up the turnovers next season. But, he’s only 26, and all signs point to him signing a supermax contract extension to remain in Boston.
Of course, that doesn’t mean he’ll be there for its entire duration, but at least he’ll be under team control for more than just next season…unlike Harden is.