Will James Harden Follow in Kevin Durant’s Footsteps and Leave Brooklyn if Nets Win a Championship?

Published 10/01/2021, 4:30 PM EDT
Feb 13, 2021; San Francisco, California, USA; Brooklyn Nets guard James Harden (13) talks with forward Kevin Durant (7) during a free throw attempt by the Nets against the Golden State Warriors in the third quarter at the Chase Center. Mandatory Credit: Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports


When James Harden joined the Brooklyn Nets in a blockbuster trade, the Nets instantly became a championship contender. With the big three of Harden, Kyrie Irving, and Kevin Durant, the Nets offense looked unstoppable and more or less unbeatable. ‘The Beard’ certainly was the key to bringing the best out of the trio, as he became the team’s primary distributor.

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If not for the injuries of Harden and Irving, the Nets might have had won the whole thing convincingly. Regardless, the Nets have yet again managed to put up a formidable lineup that is ready to challenge any side in the league. But apart from surrounding their big three with a good supporting cast, the team had another task in the off-season; signing their big-name players to long-term contracts.

Mar 1, 2021; San Antonio, Texas, USA; Brooklyn Nets guard James Harden (13) shoots in the second half against the San Antonio Spurs at the AT&T Center. Mandatory Credit: Daniel Dunn-USA TODAY Sports

After tying down Durant to a massive four-year contract extension worth $194 million, the Nets now have to ensure that their two other stars, Kyrie Irving and James Harden, are tied down under similar extensions.

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Will Harden exit the Nets just like Kevin Durant lefts the Warriors after a championship?

The Nets have been pretty vocal about their desire to re-sign their superstars. While Kyrie has made some comments which might suggest that he is up for the same, Harden’s comments in a recent interview might puzzle the organization.

Commenting on his free agency situation, Harden said, “Over the course of my career, I’ve never been a free agent before. I’ve always just been loyal, just signing a contract extension and being there. I just want to take my time with it.”

This quote surely raises some serious questions regarding ‘The Beard’s future’. Given the quality of the side, Harden and the Nets have an incredible chance to win the title in the upcoming season. If they do and Harden does end up being one of the key features of the side, he will be up for a massive payday.

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Harden is eligible to sign a $207 million contract for four years now. This number takes a massive jump next season when he will be eligible for a $270 million contract for five years which comes along with a big pay hike.

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This situation is somewhat reminiscent of Kevin Durant, who ended up leaving the Warriors despite making it to three consecutive Finals and winning two championships. But the 32-year-old will be well aware of the leverage he has with the Nets.

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He even mentioned that leaving the Nets will be hard saying “It’s going to be very, very difficult to leave here, but … or even to leave Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving.” Harden holding out off of a contract extension might be a cause of concern, but given how favorable the situation looks for the former MVP, it is likely that ‘‘The Beard‘ will stick around with the team.

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Aditya Mohapatra

1242 articles

Aditya Mohapatra is a sports enthusiast who primarily covers the NBA for EssentiallySports. Having graduated in Mass Communication, he has prior experience in writing for ABP News, and has been writing for EssentiallySports since November 2020. This die-hard Los Angeles Lakers fan feels that LeBron James is the best thing to have ever happened to the NBA, and will hold a healthy debate with anyone suggesting otherwise.

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