Speaking to Malika Andrews of ESPN (video link), Nets guard James Harden reiterated a stance he expressed on Media Day, indicating that he’s willing to be patient in his contract extension talks with the team. Even though he has said he has no desire to go anywhere else, Harden hinted that he may end up waiting another year before locking in a long-term deal with Brooklyn.
“Over the course of my career, I’ve never been a free agent before. I’ve always just been loyal, just signing contract extensions, just being there, being there, being there,” Harden said. “I just want to take my time with it. It’d be a very, very difficult thing to leave here, or to leave Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving. But I think this season I just want to focus on winning a championship and everything else will work itself out.”
Based on the structure of his contract and the rules surrounding veteran extensions, Harden is eligible to sign a three-year contract extension up until October 18. Once the season begins, he wouldn’t become eligible to sign a new deal until next offseason, when he could either pick up his 2022/23 player option and sign a four-year extension or turn down the option and sign a five-year contract as a free agent. The opportunity to receive a more lucrative deal a year from now will be a factor Harden considers as he weighs his options.
Here’s more on the NBA’s two New York teams:
- Some team executives around the NBA have wondered if Kyrie Irving might be placed on the trade block if he refuses to be vaccinated and becomes ineligible to play in the Nets‘ home games this season, according to Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report. However, Fischer says several sources with knowledge of the situation “strongly” disputed the idea that either the Nets or Irving will seek a trade. “I’m sure (general manager) Sean Marks and (head coach) Steve Nash aren’t thrilled with the situation, but despite all the s–t that goes on, they still treat him really well there,” one source said to Fischer. “They hear him out. They make the effort to try and communicate with him. That’s why Brooklyn is a special place.”
- Alex Schiffer of The Athletic takes a look at the role Kyle Korver will play as a player development coach for the Nets this season.
- Knicks head coach Tom Thibodeau “lobbied hard” for the team to re-sign Reggie Bullock, a source tells Marc Berman of The New York Post. Bullock and Elfrid Payton were big parts of New York’s top-five defense last season, so Thibodeau will be hoping to avoid a significant drop-off with Kemba Walker and Evan Fournier taking their spots.
- Following a second consecutive shortened offseason, the Knicks may benefit from their increased depth, especially if their rookies are ready to contribute right away, writes Fred Katz of The Athletic.