SAN DIEGO — Nets general manager Sean Marks has expressed confidence James Harden and Kyrie Irving would both have signed extensions by the start of training camp, but though the team opened camp Tuesday, neither player had put pen to paper.
Head coach Steve Nash insisted, however, that he still fully expects it to happen, and all signs still bear that out, with all the decision-makers set to sit down together this week.
“I feel really positive about it,” Nash said. “I don’t know when. Just big picture, long term, I feel really positive about both of those guys being with us for the future.”
On Sept. 21, Marks stated those extension talks with Harden and Irving would happen face-to-face within two weeks. The Nets are training at the University of San Diego, a stone’s throw from the La Jolla home of team owners Joe and Clara Tsai, who are slated to host the team later this week, so this was always the opportune time for those talks.
“I look forward to those discussions with Steve and myself and obviously ownership, who’s been incredibly supportive through this whole thing, and with the players,” Marks said. “Just like any decision, it’s a partnership and it’s a collaboration.”
Irving can ink an extension to his current contract at any point this season, but Harden is on a timeline. He would have to sign an extension by Oct. 18, the day before the season opener at Milwaukee.
While Irving could get a four-year, $187 million deal to stay in Brooklyn through 2025-26, Harden would pick up next season’s player option and add another three years and $161 million. Financially, both could have a reason to wait awhile.
Should both players eschew signing now and wait until after the season, Irving could get a five-year $242 million contract, while Harden could break the NBA record with a $270 million deal.
“It’s not about the money for me,” Harden said Monday. “Win a championship in New York, the money will come.”
Tuesday was LaMarcus Aldridge’s first practice since he suffered an irregular heartbeat April 10 and subsequently retired.
“Yeah, I wasn’t sure what to expect,” Nash said. “I was definitely prepared for some of our vets like LaMarcus to ease their way back into it given his layoff and all the things that he has been through. But he looked great. He looked sharp and was moving well and it was great to see him back out here.”
The Nets began camp with a two-way spot open on the roster.
“Just want to see those guys get an opportunity to play for a week straight with the intensity of training camp and to monitor their growth and potential. Then we’ll see,” Nash said. He was noncommittal regarding whether the spot would be open throughout camp, saying it was a question for Marks.
“I don’t know what he plans to do there,” Nash said. “But we all get on the same page regularly. I think this week we just want to see the guys, see them play and see their level of focus, concentration, skill level, see them within our group, all those things just be able to monitor their development and potential.”
Rookie Cam Thomas’ scoring prowess was on display in practice and impressed some of the veterans, including backcourt defensive ace Bruce Brown. … The Nets had a golf outing to Torrey Pines after practice. … Kyle Korver, who was originally drafted by the Nets in 2003, but traded for cash (part of which was used on a copy machine), finally put on a uniform for the team. He was at practice as a player development assistant.
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