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Rockets: 3 trades that would send James Harden to the Celtics

James Harden #13 of the Houston Rockets dribbles the ball past Jaylen Brown #7 of the Boston Celtics (Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images)
James Harden #13 of the Houston Rockets dribbles the ball past Jaylen Brown #7 of the Boston Celtics (Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images)
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Houston Rockets
James Harden #13 of the Houston Rockets is guarded by Kemba Walker #8 of the Boston Celtics (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)

3. Celtics send Kemba Walker, Daniel Theis, Carsen Edwards, draft picks to Rockets

This trade proposal would figure to be the least appealing of all the trade packages from the Houston Rockets’ standpoint, as the Celtics have much more to offer. This package would be centered around Kemba Walker, who formerly made the All-NBA team and has made four consecutive All-Star teams.

Walker doesn’t meet the definition of a young franchise cornerstone, as he’s already 30 years old, which is why the Celtics would need to include an immense amount of draft capital. It’s been discussed ad nauseum that the Rockets lack draft picks, due to former Rockets GM Daryl Morey’s propensity to deal draft picks away in a moment’s notice.

In this deal the Rockets’ lack of draft picks would be addressed, as they would receive three first-round picks, although they couldn’t be included in subsequent years, due to the NBA’s Stepien rule, which would force the C’s to deal picks in every other year.

To make up for that, the Celtics would also be including pick swaps in 2022 and 2024. The Rockets would also receive Daniel Theis and Carsen Edwards, which would address their needs of an additional big man and ballhandler, which has stuck out like a sore thumb through the Rockets’ first seven games.

In Walker, the Rockets would receive a star guard who has the skillset to play either guard position and can light it up offensively. Walker finished the 2018-19 season with the third-most points and has career averages of 20 points and 5.4 assists, in addition to a career 3-point percentage of 36.1 percent.

In 2019-20, which was Walker’s first season with the Celtics, he averaged 20.4 points and made 38.1 percent of his threes, while also posting a true shooting percentage of 57.5 percent, which was a career-high. Walker could also play alongside John Wall, as he thrives in catch-and-shoot 3-point shooting, as outlined below:

  • 2019-20: 42.1 percent on catch-and-shoot threes
  • 2018-19: 34.8 percent on catch-and-shoot threes
  • 2017-18: 40.3 percent on catch-and-shoot threes
  • 2016-17: 46.4 percent on catch-and-shoot threes (1st in NBA)
  • 2015-16: 44.3 percent on catch-and-shoot threes

Again, the Rockets figure to be able to do better than a deal centered around Kemba Walker, and especially from the Celtics, but the three first round picks and pick swaps would certainly get the attention of Rockets GM Rafael Stone.

Next: No. 2

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