SAN DIEGO — James Harden has until Oct. 18 to extend his current contract with the Nets. But even if he doesn’t do so by then — and there’s a chance he won’t — the All-Star has tried to assure Nets fans that he’s still here for the long haul.
Harden can actually make more — far more — by just waiting until after the season, a season he hopes will end with a championship. And it’s that status as a legitimate title favorite that he says is what makes him intent on staying in Brooklyn.
“Of course it’s on my mind. I’ve had multiple talks with [GM] Sean [Marks] and Joe [Tsai]. I don’t see myself anywhere else, honestly,” Harden told YES Network. “But I’m taking my time with it. There’s no rush. I want to bring a championship to the city. I’m here.”
Harden and his teammates are expected to be hosted by team owners Joe and Clara Tsai over the next couple of days, with the team training camp at the University of San Diego just minutes from the Tsai’s La Jolla home. And Marks had said in-person extension talks with Harden and Kyrie Irving would loop ownership in over the course of this week.
“I’m just taking my time with it. You know, I think over the course of my career I’ve never been a free agent before,” Harden told ESPN. “I think this season I just want to focus on winning the championship.”
Of course, waiting just makes good sense for Harden.
While Kevin Durant inked a long-term extension last month while leading Team USA to Tokyo Olympic gold, patience could be golden for Harden.
Yes, he has until the day before the regular-season opener at Milwaukee to simply pick up next year’s $47,366,760 player option and tack on another three years for $161.1 million that would kick in for the 2023-24 campaign.
But if he waits until after the season, he could re-sign in Brooklyn and shatter the all-time NBA record with an eye-watering $270 million windfall.
“As far as an extension I’m just being patient with it. I went through a lot last year, you want to make sure I’m in the right mindset knowing long term that ultimately I want to be in Brooklyn for the rest of my career,” Harden said. “So it’s no rush, and we’re gonna have fun with it.
“It’s not about the money for me. I’ve been on enough teams where we fell short. So my mindset, my goal is to make sure that we’re able to build, and continue to build this team to be able to compete for multiple, multiple years at the highest level. So it’s not about the money. You win a championship in New York, the money will come.”
Credit: Source link