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Danny Ainge said Celtics talked to Rockets about James Harden, but ‘the price was really high for us’

James Harden ended up with the Nets, even though the trade cost Brooklyn much of their draft stock.
James Harden ended up with the Nets, even though the trade cost Brooklyn much of their draft stock.Carmen Mandato/Associated Press

On Wednesday, the Nets were part of a blockbuster trade, with James Harden heading to Brooklyn from Houston.

The 31-year-old Harden will join Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving, instantly making the Nets the favorites to win the Eastern Conference.

For the Celtics, the trade implications are enormous, making their road back to the Eastern Conference finals even more difficult.

And according to Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge, there was a scenario in which Harden could have ended up in Boston.

Ainge was asked during an appearance on 98.5 The Sports Hub’s “Toucher & Rich” show Thursday if the Celtics had heard from the Rockets after Harden requested a trade.

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“Yeah, we had conversations regarding James — not recently, but yeah, we did have conversations,” said Ainge.

Ultimately, the Rockets were simply asking for too much, he said.

“We had numerous talks, but the price really wasn’t changing,” Ainge said. “The price was really high for us, and it was something we really didn’t want to do.

“I’m not sure there was anybody — even the people within our organization that respected him and wanted him more, but I think unanimously, we decided it wasn’t the time for us and it wasn’t the price.”