With the NBA's extension deadline having come and gone, James Harden's future in Brooklyn remains certain, as he failed to sign the contract offer that would have kept him in town for three more years.
But new intel suggests that the Beard did not sign because of any desire to leave the Nets. Instead, it has to do with setting himself up for an even bigger payday.
Harden had a three-year, $161 million extension offer on the table from Brooklyn. The deadline to sign it was 11:59 p.m. Monday. But it likely wasn’t hesitance that kept the former MVP from signing it, rather just good business sense.
Now, Harden will be in line to get a huge four-year extension worth $227 million next June. It’s one that according to former Nets assistant GM Bobby Marks — now ESPN’s cap expert — would make him the NBA’s first $60 million man.
$60 million a year is an absolutely insane salary and would have been unimaginable 10 years ago.
Even though the Nets have suffered injuries and many distractions since the "big three" era began, there is a confidence that Harden is going to stay with the team for a very long time, apparently for reasons that involve more than just money.
“You know, the reality is I haven’t thought much about it because James loves it here. He’s totally locked-in,” coach Steve Nash said when asked by The Post about Harden’s extension. “So, while we would’ve loved to have signed him before the deadline, it was James’ prerogative when he re-signs.
And we know that he’s happy here, he’s enjoying it here and we love having him here. So there’s no distraction to the extent that it didn’t really cross my mind one way or another. We love working with him every day. He’s a great teammate and professional and we’re just excited to get this year underway.”
There's plenty of reason for Harden to feel optimistic about the future.
He's playing in New York City, alongside some of the greatest players in the world, competing for a Championship at the highest level.
All the while, he's got the chance to make over $60 million a year.
Under those circumstances, it's really no wonder he wants to stick around.