NBA

Brooklyn Nets GM 'very confident' on Harden and Irving joining Durant in signing extensions

By Sports Desk August 11, 2021

Brooklyn Nets general manager Sean Marks says he expects to have James Harden and Kyrie Irving join Kevin Durant in re-signing with the franchise ahead of their training camp.

The Nets, who were beaten 4-3 by eventual NBA champions the Milwaukee Bucks in the Conference semi-finals last season, will be hold their pre-season training camp next month.

Durant, who last Saturday won gold at Tokyo 2020, recently re-committed to Brooklyn on a four-year deal.

Marks confirmed the Nets are in talks to extend the contracts of Irving and Harden, as they look to lock down their 'Big Three'.

“I feel very confident that first day of training camp we’ll be looking at those three in particular being signed, sealed and delivered and being part of the Brooklyn Nets for a long time to come,” Marks said in Wednesday's video conference.

"We're having those conversations with them. I think there's no immediate hurry to get any of these guys done in terms of the first day of free agency. These are opportunities for us to sit down, break bread together, meet with Joe Tsai [Nets owner] and really get on the same page."

Marks said that Durant's extension was "straight-forward", labelling the forward's decision to extend as "franchise changing".

“Kevin was honestly extremely straightforward, and very upfront about ‘I want to be here, this is it, get it done, and I want to get it done immediately.’ I don't blame him," Marks said.

"It was obviously very important for us. I can't tell you how important it was, and this is franchise changing when you can lock a person like Kevin up and he wants to commit to being here for the foreseeable future."

Marks also offered updates on both Irving and Harden who missed periods of the playoffs with injuries.

Harden, 31, battled a hamstring injury in the regular season which recurred during the playoffs, while Irving suffered an ankle sprain in Game 4 of the Bucks series and did not return.

“I've James working out, I've seen some videos of him and he's really trending in the right direction," Marks said. "Looks great, has really devoted himself this summer to rehabbing one the hamstring and just getting himself into top basketball shape.

"I was with Kyrie yesterday... It was a bad ankle sprain, there's no question there, so that set him back, but he's recovering and he's progressing well and is back in the gym and I have no doubt by the time training camp rolls around and even prior to that the guys will be together and be live on the court together playing and working out.

"But from a health standpoint no reason to be concerned about either one.”

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    Kevin Durant said nobody is hoping Kyrie Irving will return to "save us" after the Brooklyn Nets were beaten by the Charlotte Hornets amid protests in support of the absent NBA All-Star.

    Irving is yet to play this season due to his refusal to be vaccinated against coronavirus, which is preventing him from practicing or playing with the Nets – New York has a mandate in place that states players must have had a COVID-19 jab.

    Demonstrators gathered outside Barclays Center prior to Sunday's 111-95 defeat at home to the Hornets, showing their support of Irving.

    After the Nets dropped to 1-2 for the season, Durant was asked about team-mate Irving and him being away from the championship-chasing franchise.

    "It's three games in. Of course, we've got enough," Durant told reporters post-game after posting 38 points.

    "We definitely want Kyrie Irving out here on the floor and he's a huge part of what we do, but it's not happening right now. So we've got to figure it out.

    "But nobody's going to lose confidence while we're playing and hope Kyrie comes and saves us during the game. No, you've got to play."

    James Harden was far from his best against the Hornets, going just six-of-16 shooting from the field for 15 points in 33 minutes, while he also tallied eight turnovers.

    The former MVP endured an injury-hit first season with the Nets following his blockbuster trade from the Houston Rockets.

    "I'm just getting my confidence back," Harden said. "I'm a little hesitant. You guys can see it. Just making sure my confidence continues to build, and that's all that matters.

    "We're at game three and hopefully my confidence -- not hopefully -- but my confidence will rise and will continue to get better as games go on, and I feel more confident and get that burst of speed like I'm normally used to. No worries at all."

    Harden has also found himself drawing fewer fouls this season after the NBA introduced a rule change, aimed specifically at players who make "abnormal movements" to get to the free-throw line.

    He only went to the line once against the Hornets, having averaged 4.0 attempts heading into the contest – his lowest average since the 2010-11 season (4.2).

    "I feel like he's unfairly become the poster boy of not calling these fouls," Nets head coach Steve Nash said. "Some of them are definitely fouls still."

    Nash added: "I think he’s got to stick with it. But they're just so alert and aware, and he's the poster child of these new decisions.  I get it, there's a line, but some of them are still fouls.

    "So, he's just got to stick with it, he’s got to keep going to the basket, and he's got to do what he does because a large portion of them are still fouls, and if he doesn't get fouls, he can still make plays.

    "He can still finish them, and pass and do all the things that he does. So he's just got to continue as he finds his rhythm again after very little basketball for half a year. Keep attacking, keep attacking, and they're gonna respect his skill level and his ability to get guys on his shoulder and get to the basket."

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    In Portland, CJ McCollum scored 28 points and Damian Lillard had 19 as the Trail Blazers rolled past the Phoenix Suns 134-105. Devin Booker had 21 points, the only Phoenix player to score more than 14. 

    Luka Doncic had a game-high 27 points, 12 assists and nine rebounds as the Dallas Mavericks rallied from a six-point half-time deficit to defeat the Raptors 103-95 in Toronto for their first victory under new head coach Jason Kidd. Tim Hardaway Jr. added 25 points and Kristaps Porzingis had 18 points and 10 rebounds for the Mavericks, while OG Anunoby led Toronto with 23. 

  • 'It's over with' – Howard & Davis moving on from row in Lakers loss 'It's over with' – Howard & Davis moving on from row in Lakers loss

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    The Lakers, aiming to regain the title they won in the NBA bubble in 2020, fell to 0-2 as they were beaten 115-105 by last season's Western Conference champions.

    Their defeat was highlighted by a disagreement between Howard and Davis in the first half, which saw the latter shove his team-mate during a timeout.

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    "We just had a disagreement about something that was happening on the floor," said Howard. 

    "We're both very passionate about winning. We didn't want to lose this game. We got it out of the way. We're grown men. Things happen.

    "But we already talked. We squashed it. There's no issues between me and him. And that's my brother. That's my team-mate."

    "It's over with," Davis added. "After the situation happened, me and DH talked about it ... and we left it in the locker room at half-time."

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