Danny Ainge says Celtics showed interest in James Harden trade: ‘It wasn’t the time for us’

(John Tlumacki/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)

The Celtics were in the bidding for James Harden's services in the past few months according to Danny Ainge but the team was not willing to meet the high asking price that the Houston Rockets demanded for him.

In his weekly interview with Toucher and Rich on 98.5 The Sports Hub, the Celtics president of basketball operations admitted the team was originally a suitor for the All-Star guard once he demanded out of Houston.

“James Harden is a great player,” Ainge said. “He is one of the best offensive players that have played the game in any era. I think every team in the league respects him and fears him as an opponent."

However, that interest appeared to diminish as trade talks heated up with the Sixers and Nets.

"Yeah, we had conversations regarding James," Ainge acknowledged. "Not recently, but yeah. We did have conversations. We had numerous talks, but the price really wasn't changing. The price was really high for us. It was just something we didn't want to do.

Ainge continued: “Even the people within our organization that respected him and wanted him more -- I think unanimously we decided it wasn't the time for us and it wasn't the price."

Harden ended up getting dealt to the Nets officially on Wednesday morning for a haul that included four first-round draft picks, four potential pick swaps and two promising young players in Caris LeVert and Jarrett Allen.

One league source told BostonSportsJournal.com that the haul the Rockets demanded from the Celtics for Harden included Jaylen Brown, Marcus Smart and draft compensation. That was a price that the Celtics understandably did not