NBA

Harden, Irving, Durant: Brooklyn Nets to tie up 'Big Three' long-term

Brooklyn Nets general manager Sean Marks has laid out the NBA franchise's plans to ensure Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving and James Harden stay long-term.

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Los Nets quieren 'Big Three' para años: Harden e Irving, tras Durant
Sarah Stier AFP

On January 13, the face of the NBA shifted. James Harden, after his sojourn in Houston, arrived in New York to form one of the most exciting tridents in the history of the sport in a more or less unprecedented media and sporting coup for the Brooklyn Nets. Now, the franchise is determined to ensure that it will remain in place for some time to come. Sean Marks, the Nets’ general manager, has said he is confident that both Kyrie Irving and Harden will sign extensions to their current deals before the NBA pre-season begins on September 28, following the lead of Kevin Durant, who has agreed to a four-year, $198 million deal. Harden had only one season left on his deal, 2022-23, with a player option of $42 million. Now, with that deal in the bag, the Nets are looking to the other two components of the ‘big three.”

Irving and Harden are in similar situations, with one year left on their Nets deals and another on the table. Irving will earn $34 million next season and a player option of $36m the next. James, $44m and $47, respectively. The Nets are not leaving anything to chance and are prepared to offer both players the maximum offers possible: a four-year, $186.6m deal in the case of Irving and three years for $161 for Harden, according to ESPN journalist Bobby Marks, a former assistant general manager at the Nets.

Nets invested in 'big three' of Harden, Irving, Durant

It is a major outlay but in line with what the Nets had in mind when they decided to lay out their blueprint on the basis of the ‘big three.’ With those deals in place, the Nets will expect to be in the running for the NBA Championship for practically the next five seasons. Last season, Harden, Durant and Irving only played nine games for a total of 202 minutes together during the regular season. In the playoffs, when it seemed as though the stars had aligned and the three were arriving at the perfect time in perfect shape, injuries hampered the Nets again. First it was Harden, who had to pull out of the opening game of the series against the Bucks. Then Irving, in the fourth game of the same series. In the opening post-season series against the Celtics, they had combined for 104 points in a single game, displaying the formidable machine the Nets can be with their three stars fit and firing.

Marks, Steve Nash and the Nets in general want to build on that as they seek the first NBA Championship in franchise history. By achieving these contractual goals, they will be one of the big winners of the offseason, which has provided some big moves like Russell Westbrook to the Lakers but as yet no collective of players to match the ‘big three.’ The Nets are also not going to rest on the laurels of Harden, Irving and Durant signing up long-term, targeting players that will not break the bank to strengthen their roster even more, as they did with LaMarcus Aldridge last season and Blake Griffin a year earlier. David Duke Jr and Jevon Carter have already been added.

Patty Mills arrives to add experience

On this occasion, the incorporation of Patty Mills stands out, the Australian joining on a two-year, $12 million after shining at the Olympics as his side took bronze while also bringing NBA Championship experience after winning the title in 2014 with the San Antonio Spurs.