With training camp set to begin next week in La Jolla, Calif.., Brooklyn Nets GM Sean Marks says he’s had “very positive conversations” with James Harden and Kyrie Irving regarding contract extensions.
Marks said last month he was “very confident” he would get Harden, Irving and Kevin Durant extended through the 2025-26 season before the start of camp.
“We’ve had very positive conversations with both those guys [Irving and Harden] and whether it’s family members, people and so forth, I think it always helps to do things in person,” Marks said Tuesday on a Zoom call with reporters.
“We’re looking forward to sitting down with them over the course of the next week, two weeks, and furthering those discussions.”
Coming off winning his third gold medal with the the USA men’s basketball team, Durant last month signed a four-year, $198-million extension with the Nets.
Per the NY Post, Harden could re-sign for up to three years, $161.1 million, and Irving for four years and $181.6 million. Irving also could receive a five-year, $235 million max deal in 2022 if he doesn’t sign an extension and opts out after the 2021-22 season.
“I haven’t really looked at is as a distraction, per se,” Marks said. “I think 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 building this together. I think we’ve got an opportunity to do something special here for the foreseeable future and the fact that they want to collaborate, they want to come here together, they want to build this together, I look forward to those discussion with Steve [Nash] and myself and ownership…and with players.
“Just like any decision, it’s a partnership and it’s a collaboration.”
The Nets remain the favorites to win the NBA title in 2022 after losing to Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Milwaukee Bucks in the Eastern Conference semifinals, and they added several key pieces to their roster for the second year of Nash’s tenure.
The Nets added veteran guard Patty Mills, who has an NBA ring with the San Antonio Spurs, and veteran forwards James Johnson and Paul Millsap, while bringing back Blake Griffin and LaMarcus Aldridge (after he temporarily retired with an irregular heartbeat) to go along with younger players Bruce Brown and Nic Claxton.
“It was great having LaMarcus last year, he added a lot to our room,” Nash said. “He was an experienced, skilled, versatile big who has a high IQ and knows how to play. He added a lot to our collective IQ and we’re excited to have him back.
“Patty is a championship player with the Spurs who’s been there for 10 years. I think he’s an incredible lift to our culture just being the type of character he is, the personality he has and his ability to shoot and play with pace.
“Paul Millsap’s a tough, intelligent, skilled big who’s seen it all so another guy that can play a few positions, stretch the floor, can pass and play inside and facilitate and will understand and be able to fit into any defense.
“So we added 3 veterans with high IQ and high character and that’s always a really positive thing for a coaching staff.”
Nash didn’t back away from the overall expectations: “We’re out to win a championship, we own that.”