The history lesson to remember when thinking about Celtics trading for James Harden


Over the weekend there was a report out of Houston the Celtics and Raptors were separating themselves from the pack when it came to a pursuit of James Harden.


If you are concerned about Harden's attitude and waistline than put this conversation in the rearview mirror and keep hoping Kemba Walker's knees don't fall off.

But there is some meat on this bone when it comes to making this a palatable puzzle piece.

The first question you have to ask yourself is this: Can the Celtics contend with Jaylen Brown as your other go-to guy? That would be a tough notion to embrace.

Then there is this bit of advice ...

Remember Al Jefferson.

While a different kind of player than Brown, Jefferson was viewed in a similar light as the current Celtic guard after the 2006-07 season. The forward had just averaged 16 points and 11 points per game at basically the same age (22) as Brown is right now.

There were plenty of folks who cringed at the notion of including Jefferson in a trade for Kevin Garnett, believing his upside was too good to jump ship from in exchange for a 31-year-old.

Sound familiar?

This isn't an apples to apples conversation. Harden isn't Garnett when it comes to the entire package. (Locker room culture. All-around game.) But much like The Big Ticket, the current Rockets star brings you into a brand new championship conversation.

Harden is almost the exact same age Garnett was when he was dealt to the Celtics on Juily 12, 2007 for two first-round picks, Jefferson, Ryan Gomes, Theo Ratliff, Gerald Green and Sebastian Telfair.

The picks ended up being Wayne Ellington and Johnny Flynn. No big loss. Gomes. Ratliff. Green. Telfair. Who cares. And then there was Jefferson.

The forward had a very nice career, and two outstanding seasons to kick off his stay in Minnesota, averaging over 20 points and 11 rebounds pregame. Jefferson ended up becoming the kind of value many believe Brown does and will represent.

The existence of Harden -- who is signed for two more seasons -- is a tricky one. But it is important to take a step back, get past some of the perception and take a realistic look at the talent you are giving up and getting back.

Let history be your guide.

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