The Nets’ stated desire to have contract extensions in place for their remaining pair of Big 3 superstars — James Harden and Kyrie Irving — still has not been achieved with one week remaining before the first practice of training camp next Tuesday.
With Kevin Durant already signing his max extension in August, Nets GM Sean Marks indicated he plans to sit down with James Harden and Kyrie Irving and/or their representatives in the coming weeks with a goal of hammering out new deals with the All-Star guards.
“Regarding the extension conversations, we’ve had very positive conversations with both those guys and whether it’s family members, [their] people, and so forth, I think it always helps to do these things in person,” Marks said during an in-person press conference Tuesday at the team’s Brooklyn practice facility. “With this being summer, we’re very cognizant of letting people have their own time away before we all get back into the swing of things here.
“We’re looking forward to sitting down with them over the course of the next week, two weeks, and furthering those discussions.”
Shortly after Durant committed to remain in Brooklyn through 2026 by signing a four-year extension worth $198 million on Aug. 6, Marks said he was “confident” he’d get new mega-deals completed with Harden, who was acquired from Houston in January, and Irving by the start of training camp.
The 32-year-old Harden is eligible to sign for up to three years and $161.1 million, while the 29-year-old Irving can ink a deal for four years and $181.6 million. Marks didn’t say whether any deadlines have been imposed — either by the team or the players — for negotiations to be completed.
“To be honest, I haven’t really looked at it as a distraction, per se. This is something those guys know exactly how we feel, and I think they’ve been vocal about wanting to be part of this and build this together,” Marks said. “I think we’ve got an opportunity to hopefully build something special here for the foreseeable future.
“The fact that they want to collaborate, they want to come here together, they want to build this together, I look forward to those discussions with [coach] Steve [Nash] and myself and obviously ownership, who’s been incredibly supportive through this whole thing, and with the players. Just like any decision, it’s a partnership and it’s a collaboration.”
Both players missed multiple games in the playoffs last spring -— Harden with a hamstring issue and Irving with an ankle injury — as the Nets were eliminated in seven games by the eventual NBA champion Bucks in a seven-game second-round series. Marks indicated that both stars, however, are healthy entering camp with an eye on “being the last team standing” this season.
“The progress of their rehab and overall health, from what we’ve seen, they look great,” Marks said. “Our performance team has been with them. Our coaching staff has been with them, spending considerable time with them.
“I can attest that they’re in great spirits. They’re ready to go, like the rest of the team. It will be a work in progress as to how we proceed with all of our guys, not just James and Kyrie, into camp and how they’re used over the course of the first couple days, weeks. We’ve talked about it, really, ad nauseam, that it’s a grind. It’s a marathon. It’s not a sprint. But we’re obviously always trying to save those guys from themselves half the time. They feel good, they look great. So that’s a positive thing.”