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#pounditFriday, December 3, 2021

Nets fans will like James Harden’s contract comments

James Harden on the court

James Harden failed to reach a contract extension with the Brooklyn Nets, but fans of the team should still be smiling regardless.

After Brooklyn’s season opener against the Milwaukee Bucks on Tuesday, the former MVP discussed his contract situation. The deadline for Harden to sign an extension with the team passed without a deal, which will potentially make him an unrestricted free agent next summer. But Harden was clear that he has no plans to leave the Nets.

“Honestly I’ve just been focusing on getting healthy, getting my body right and preparing for the season,” said Harden, per Jasmyn Wimbish of CBS Sports. “The contract, the money it’s gonna be there. I don’t plan on leaving this organization and the situation that we have. So my focus is honestly just focusing on the season, and winning a championship. The contract and all that stuff will play itself out as it should. My focus is definitely locked in on the season.”

After arriving in Brooklyn via a trade with Houston last year, Harden now begins his first full season with the Nets. He can become a free agent next offseason by turning down his $47.4 million player option for 2022-23.

Waiting until the 2022 offseason would make Harden eligible for a four-year, $227 million deal with the Nets. That would be the largest contract by average annual value in NBA history. Though this team may be trying very hard to pry Harden away, it sounds like he has every intention of staying right where he is … and securing a big bag in the process.

Photo: Feb 16, 2021; Phoenix, Arizona, USA; Brooklyn Nets guard James Harden (13) reacts against the Phoenix Suns at Phoenix Suns Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

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