Nets Pushing To Sign New Deals For Harden, Irving

Nets General Manager Sean Marks brought together a trio of Kevin Durant, James Harden and Kyrie Irving to spearhead a new regime in Brooklyn.

His experiment, featuring three offensive juggernauts, resulted in one of the most formidable teams in the Association — finishing the 2020-21 season with the second-best record in the Eastern Conference at 48-24.

Once the Big 3’s debut season wrapped, the GM was tasked with extending the three players to new deals.

Kevin Durant has been the consensus pick for the alpha’s role in Brooklyn, which put him atop the pecking order for a contract extension. Durant signed a four-year, $198 million extension with the Nets back in August. He finished the season averaging 26.9 points, 7.1 rebounds and 5.6 assists after missing the 2019-20 season with an Achilles injury. Durant also shot a career-high 45 percent from three last season.

Now that the first domino fell in Brooklyn, the focus has shifted toward getting extensions done for Harden and Irving.

During a media session on Tuesday, Marks expressed that the Nets and representation for James Harden and Kyrie Irving are mutually in good faith that new deals will get done as the season’s start in October looms.

“We’ve had very positive conversations with both those guys, and whether it’s family members, people and so forth, I think it always helps to do these things in person,” said Marks. “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.”

Marks expressed his priority to maintain the potential chemistry at hand by bringing Irving and Harden back on new deals.

“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,” added Marks. “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.”

The new-look Nets instantly became a favorite to win the Eastern Conference, and the Larry O’Brien, once Harden joined the team in January. Marks previously brought in Durant on a sign-and-trade with Golden State in 2019, while Irving was acquired in free agency that year.

Brooklyn fell short of championship expectations with a Game 7 overtime loss to the Milwaukee Bucks in the 2020-21 Eastern Conference semifinals series. James Harden suffered a hamstring injury in Game 1 against the Bucks and did not return until Game 5. Kyrie Irving missed Game 5 after suffering a right ankle sprain in Game 4. 

Injuries have been the bane of this team’s potential: Disrupting chemistry with one-third of the team-up usually out of action with an injury. The Nets have been fortunate to see a number of serviceable veterans step in and step up — e.g. Blake Griffin and Joe Harris — and with the addition of Patty Mills and Paul Millsap, Marks appears to have his head fully wrapped around this investment needing to pay off sooner than later. 

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