Friday, December 25, 2020

James Harden isn’t happy.

Houston Rockets All-Star James Harden clearly isn’t happy in Houston. So much so that reportedly he has expanded his list of desired trade destinations.

That list, according to The Athletic, now includes the Portland Trail Blazers and Boston Celtics. 

Harden, 31, reportedly listed the Brooklyn Nets as his top choice. He later added Philadelphia, Milwaukee and Miami. Now, the Blazers and Celtics have also made the list.

It’s not often that a major star of Harden’s caliber lists Portland as a destination spot. Adding the three-time NBA scoring champion and former MVP to play alongside guard Damian Lillard would give the Blazers the unchallenged best backcourt in the NBA.

But would that be enough to make Portland a championship contender? Tough to say.

Any deal that brings the 6-foot-5 Harden to Portland would likely include 6-3 guard CJ McCollum and a combination of draft picks and young players from a list of Anfernee Simons, Zach Collins or Gary Trent Jr.

Acquiring Harden with such a deal would leave the Blazers with a starting lineup of: Lillard, Harden, Derrick Jones Jr., Robert Covington and Jusuf Nurkic.

Defense remains an issue for Portland (0-1) which lost its opener 120-100 to Utah on Wednesday. Harden would not help in that regard but he would add more height and firepower to the lineup. 

Harden averaged 34.3 points per game last season to lead the league for the third consecutive season. Some wonder how Harden would co-exist with a guard such as Lillard, who averaged 30 points per game last season.

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