The deadline for the Brooklyn Nets to extend star point guard James Harden came and went on Monday without a deal settled between the two sides. Harden is entering his third season of a four-year contract that is worth $171 million that he signed with the Rockets ahead of being traded to Brooklyn.
During Brooklyn’s media day, Harden addressed his upcoming extension telling reporters that he’s going to remain “patient” with the process, but expressed his desire to finish his career with the Nets, according to Forbes.
"“I’m focused on trying to bring a championship to the city. But as far as an extension, I’m just being patient with it. I went through a lot last year and I want to make sure I’m in the right mind set and knowing long-term that ultimately I want to be in Brooklyn for the rest of my career. So it’s no rush.”"
During media day, GM Sean Marks said he felt confident in the team’s ability to extend Harden, Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant. Durant ended up signing an extension worth $198 million over four years while talks with Irving have stalled while he and the franchise work through his refusal to get vaccinated for COVID-19.
Nets’ James Harden says Brooklyn feels like home despite not signing an extension
After Brooklyn’s opening night loss to the Milwaukee Bucks, Harden once again addressed his extension and reiterated that he wants to remain with the Nets, according to The Athletic (paid membership required).
"“I love it here, I feel at home,” Harden said. “It’s nothing to worry about. … For me individually, I just want to focus on this year.”"
Harden is set to make $44.3 million this season and has a player option worth $47.4 million for next season. However, Harden can make up to as much as a historic $60 million per year if he becomes a free agent in the offseason and re-signs with Brooklyn.
From a purely financial standpoint, this makes the most sense for Harden. It allows him to maximize his earning potential in what is likely the last huge contract of his career considering he’s coming into this season at 32 years old. Harden has also never been an unrestricted free agent, and this summer would be the first time he’ll be able to test the waters around the league just to see if there are any options that might make better sense for him.
It’s hard to imagine Harden leaving Brooklyn, especially considering that Durant is locked in with the team for the next four seasons, essentially ensuring that Brooklyn would be a title contender each season in which both men are healthy. This is likely going to be discussed all season long, but the timing and financials suggest that Harden re-signs with Brooklyn this summer.