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Nets GM say team “had very positive conversations” about Harden, Irving extensions

Ben Simmons announces he will not report to training camp for the Philadelphia 76ers and intends to never play another game for the franchise. Rich Eisen says it's the fans that drove him out.

Kevin Durant took the money and signed a four-year, $198 million max contract extension to stay with the Nets.

When that happened, it was expected James Harden and Kyrie Irving would follow suit with extensions to their contracts before the start of the season — both have player options for next season and could become free agents next offseason.

“We’ve had very positive conversations with both those guys. And whether it’s family members, people and so forth, I think it always helps to do these things in person,” Nets GM Sean Marks said in a pre-training camp meeting with reporters Tuesday. “With this being summer, we’re very cognizant of letting people have their own time away before we all get back into the swing of things here. We’re looking forward to sitting down with them over the course of the next week, two weeks, and furthering those discussions.”

Marks previously said he was confident both men would sign an extension before the start of the season. There are not a lot of numbers to negotiate here — both are clear max players. For Harden, a max extension is four years, $161.1 million. For Irving it is four years, $181.6 million, however, there are some games played incentives in his current contract to hit the final million in each season, and the Nets likely want to keep those in place.

Harden has said he is healthy coming off the hamstring issue that slowed him last playoffs, and Marks said Irving is recovering from the ankle sprain suffered in Game 4 of the second round of the playoffs. Marks added the Nets are taking the long-term, big picture approach to both men’s recovery.

The Nets enter this season as the NBA title favorites (according to our partners at Points Bet), and Marks understandably wants to lock down his core for a few more years. That will get expensive for Nets owner Joe Tsai — by 2026, each of the three players would make more than $50 million per season — but Tsai knew the costs of forming this kind of big three when he okayed the deals.

“I think we’ve got an opportunity to hopefully build something special here for the foreseeable future,” Marks said. “The fact that they want to collaborate, they want to come here together, they want to build this together. I look forward to those discussions with Steve [Nash, the Nets coach] and myself and obviously ownership, who’s been incredibly supportive through this whole thing, and with the players. Just like any decision, it’s a partnership and it’s a collaboration.”

A partnership that could bring a title to Brooklyn.