At some point this week, the Nets will meet with Joe and Clara Wu Tsai. After all, they are training in the Tsai’s home town of San Diego at USD. Now the question is whether we will see that classic signing photo — doting team owner looking on as stars, in this case Kyrie Irving and James Harden — sign on the dotted line?
Steve Nash, echoing Sean Marks, expressed his optimism about the possibility of a signing, if not the photo.
“I feel really positive about it,” Nash told media Tuesday at USD’s Jenny Craig Pavilion. “I don’t know when. Just big picture, long term, I feel really positive about both of those guys being with us for the future.”
Nash also said the Nets will definitely see and spend time with the Tsais this week.
As Marks said at his and Nash’s preseason press conference a week ago, “I look forward to those discussions with Steve 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.”
At Monday’s Media Day, both Irving and Harden offered optimism about getting things done soon with Harden
“We’re having great talks. It’s going well,” said Irving on extension conversations with Brooklyn. “We know that the future is on our side sort of say just being able to maximize our potential in these next coming years.”
Harden told YES Network’s Ryan Ruocco and Sarah Kustok, “I’ve had multiple talks with Sean (Marks) and Joe (Tsai). I don’t see myself anywhere else, honestly. I want to bring a championship to the city. I’m here.”
And here’s what he told Malika Andrews in an interview that took place Monday but was posted early Wednesday afternoon...
James Harden, in part, on his contract extension: “I'm just taking my time with it. You know, I think over the course of my career I've never been a free agent before… I think this season I just want to focus on winning the championship.”— Malika Andrews (@malika_andrews) September 29, 2021
Full @SportsCenter conversation: pic.twitter.com/8lQQTYoyyE
The goal is to get the two guards to commit to staying with the club through 2025-2026, the tenure Kevin Durant committed to back in August. The numbers, as Brian Lewis reports are big.
Irving can ink an extension to his current contract at any point this season, but Harden is on a timeline. He would have to sign an extension by Oct. 18, the day before the season opener at Milwaukee.
While Irving could get a four-year, $187 million deal to stay in Brooklyn through 2025-26, Harden would pick up next season’s player option and add another three years and $161 million.
Both could wait a year and get more money, Irving could sign to a five-year $242 million contract, while Harden could break the NBA contract record with a $270 million deal.
Meanwhile, Nash and the Nets veteran players offered their take on first day of camp. Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN who covered the Nets for the Daily News when they were still in New Jersey had the mic.
Steve Nash remains optimistic about extensions for Kyrie Irving and James Harden. He also is asked about possibility of Irving missing practices and games when Nets return to New York. pic.twitter.com/YfvIdy26b5— Ohm Youngmisuk (@NotoriousOHM) September 28, 2021
LaMarcus Aldridge after the first Nets practice pic.twitter.com/HPCeSm6BJq— Ohm Youngmisuk (@NotoriousOHM) September 28, 2021
Paul Millsap after his first Nets practice pic.twitter.com/M6gdEtVvxn— Ohm Youngmisuk (@NotoriousOHM) September 28, 2021
As with the Marks-Nash press conference and Media Day, there was little discussion about Kyrie Irving’s vaccine status ... and the possibility that New York and NBA regulations would prevent him from playing home games at Barclays Center ... and the two road games at Madison Square Garden. The elephant was in the room Tuesday, not in the Zoom as he was Monday.
“That’s not really something I’m focusing on right now,” Nash said when asked by The Post about his level of concern. “I’m trying to have a great camp. Things could change day-to-day in so many ways, as we saw last year. Right now, we are just focused on camp.”
“I just focus on camp because this is where we are,” Nash continued. “We’re right here in camp, we’ve got to get better, we’ve got to make the most of this week. So to worry on stuff that’s outside of my control right now, my control and my focus is on getting these guys’ principles down, getting them some reps, building that chemistry and having a great week in San Diego so when we go home we say that was very, very productive.”
Nash also liked what he saw from LaMarcus Aldridge who hasn’t played since April.
“Yeah, I wasn’t sure what to expect,” Nash said. “I was definitely prepared for some of our vets like LaMarcus to ease their way back into it given his layoff and all the things that he has been through. But he looked great. He looked sharp and was moving well and it was great to see him back out here.”
There were also reports out of camp that Cam Thomas continued to show his scoring prowess and got an endorsement from Bruce Brown who knows something about defense.
As the open two-way spot on the roster — rookie wing Kessler Edwards has one of the two spots — Nash said he wanted to look at the two candidates, 6’5’ undrafted rookie swingman David Duke and 6’8” former Lakers big man Devontae Cacok.
“Just want to see those guys get an opportunity to play for a week straight with the intensity of training camp and to monitor their growth and potential. Then we’ll see,” Nash said, noting the final decision is up to the GM, not the coach. “I don’t know what he plans to do there. But we all get on the same page regularly. I think this week we just want to see the guys, see them play and see their level of focus, concentration, skill level, see them within our group, all those things just be able to monitor their development and potential.”
Meanwhile, Adam Zagoria of Forbes Sports Money reported that Marcus Zegarowski, the 6’2” shooting guard taken at No. 49 in the Draft, will play with the Long Island Nets. The Nets have the option of signing Zegarowski and No. 59 pick RaiQuan Gray directly to Long Island while retaining their rights. Neither are on the Nets training camp roster.
Also making his first appearance in a Nets (workout) uniform after long being the subject of jokes directed at the organization over the past two decades, the Nets 51st pick in the 2003 NBA Draft, Kyle Korver. Now a Nets assistant development coach concentrating on shooting skills, Korver spent time with Nic Claxton Tuesday.
The Nets are one of three NBA teams training in San Diego. The Clippers are at San Diego State University and the Nuggets at the University of California at San Diego.
- How Nets feel about chances of getting Kyrie Irving, James Harden extensions done - Brian Lewis - New York Post
- Kyrie Irving shows up to training camp with Nets status in flux - Brian Lewis - New York Post
- Once a luxury, James Harden has become Nets’ security blanket - Mark W. Sanchez - New York Post Sports+
- New Nets assistant Kyle Korver ‘knows how to get through’ to get players to take their best shots - Alex Schiffer - The Athletic