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In strongest statement yet, James Harden says, ‘I love it here’

Brooklyn Nets v Milwaukee Bucks Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images

James Harden decided against signing a contract extension before the 11:59 p.m. deadline Monday, but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t want to stay a Brooklyn Net. He made that clear post-game Tuesday night, reassuring the Nets fanbase that he’s fully committed.

“I love it here. Myself, Joe [Tsai], Clara [Tsai], Sean [Marks], the front office, Steve [Nash] and from top to bottom, the communication has been unbelievable and amazing. I feel at home so. I just want to focus on this year and that’s it.”

It was Harden’s first comment after the extension deadline passed and followed a comment from Steve Nash earlier in the day.

“I haven’t thought much about it because James loves it here. He’s totally locked in,” said the Nets coach. “So while we’d love to have signed him before the deadline, it’s James’ prerogative when he re-signs and we know he’s happy here.”

So, why didn’t he sign? The obvious reason is that he can get $62 million more by waiting a year. A new contract written in July of 2022 would also include a final year at more than $60 million, making him the first NBA player to earn that much money. Of course, there is a risk, but one the nine-time All-Star appears willing to take it.

Harden said his main focus heading into the season will be his health and proving himself along the way.

“I’ve just been focused on getting healthy. Getting healthy, getting my body right and preparing for a great season. The contract and the money is going to be there. I’m not planning on leaving this organization and the situation that we have,” Harden said on not signing an extension Monday night. “My focus is to focus on the season and winning a championship. The contract and all that stuff will play itself out as it should.”

The Nets superstar also spoke about his championship aspirations for Brooklyn.

“The contract, the money is going to be there. I’m not planning on leaving this organization and the situation that we have. So my focus, honestly, is just focus on the season and then winning the championship. The contract and all that stuff will bear itself out, but my focus is going to be locked on this season...

“Last year as a whirlwind for me individually as far as my health and playing. This year, I want to come back and show I am one of those ones and I’m one of them guys. I got a lot to prove for myself. That’s all I’m worried about and focused on,” Harden said.

Harden played 36 games for the Nets last season — plus eight for the Rockets — his lowest ever.