There has been plenty of speculation regarding the future of James Harden and Russell Westbrook. Both All-Stars are still under contract and the Houston Rockets has no rush to move them whatsoever, but it's unsustainable to have your two best players under protest for multiple seasons.
That's why Greg Swartz of Bleacher Report recently put together a list of realistic trades that could go down for both players, claiming that it's unlikely that the Rockets keep one or the other and could be better off by moving both of them.
In this hypothetical scenario, the New York Knicks and Boston Celtics team up to lure both stars in a huge move that would send James Harden and PJ Tucker to the Celtics, Russell Westbrook to the Knicks, and Jaylen Brown, Gordon Hayward, Kevin Knox, Julius Randle, Bobby Portis, 2 first-round picks, and a 2020 first-round pick:
"If the Rockets end up trading Harden, they might as well tear the whole thing down and find a new home for Westbrook, too. The Celtics have the assets to pull off a trade for the 2018 MVP, armed with young talent and picks, including three first-rounders in this draft. This is an all-in move for the C's, one that shoots them past the Milwaukee Bucks and Miami Heat straight to the top of the Eastern Conference. It also prevents the Brooklyn Nets from trading for Harden and creating their own Big Three," Swartz said.
"The Knicks get Westbrook at a good price, sacrificing no draft picks or elite young talent to receive the 2017 MVP and two-time scoring champion. New York would still have significant cap space heading into 2021 free agency, with one star (two if RJ Barrett makes a leap) already in place. Houston blows it all the way up, getting a new face of the franchise in Brown," the report concluded.
Obviously, the Boston Celtics would go right to the top of the Eastern Conference with a Tatum-Harden duo plus PJ Tucker's top-tier defense, while the Knicks would finally get the star they've been craving for so many years.
The Knicks are reportedly going to be quite aggressive in their pursuit of a star, and we already know that Danny Ainge doesn't mind blowing things up and moving some pieces to land a superstar. It's a reach, but it's not as far-fetched as you'd think.