During an interview on Thursday following the completion of the James Harden trade, Danny Ainge revealed the Boston Celtics were involved in the trade talks but that the price wasn’t to their liking.
“Yeah, we had conversations regarding James, not recently but yeah, we did have conversations,” Ainge said. “We had numerous talks, but the price really wasn’t changing. The price was really high for us, and it was something we really didn’t want to do … I think unanimously, we decided it wasn’t time for us and it wasn’t the price.”
Ramona Shelburne of ESPN reported that the Celtics were the third team involved in trade discussions along with the Brooklyn Nets and Philadelphia 76ers.
The Celtics were similarly close to a deal for Jimmy Butler in 2017, but they were unwilling to include the No. 3 pick in that draft which became Jayson Tatum or the 2018 pick from Brooklyn included in the Kyrie Irving trade.
Boston also discussed a similar trade that month with the Indiana Pacers for Paul George, but Tatum’s second workout convinced them otherwise.
According to Brian Robb of the Boston Sports Journal, the Rockets were asking for Jaylen Brown, Marcus Smart and draft compensation.