Brooklyn Nets star James Harden has explained why he is yet to sign an extension with the Eastern Conference franchise despite general manager Sean Marks suggesting that it will be done by the time training camp got underway. The Nets are now one game into the 2021-22 campaign and only one of the the big three, Kevin Durant, has signed an extension.

Marks was confident of tying down Harden and Kyrie Irving before the start of the campaign. the Nets remain among the favourites to lift the Larry O'Brien trophy in 2022 despite losing their opening game of the campaign to the reigning NBA champions the Milwaukee Bucks on Tuesday night.

Harden made it clear that he remains committed to the Nets going forward, but did not want to lose focus of the main objective by entering into contract talks just prior to the start of the new campaign. The former Houston Rockets cager is keen to focus on the competition, and the challenge of bringing the trophy to Brooklyn this season.

"Honestly, I've just been focused on getting healthy and getting my body ready, and then preparing for a great season," Harden said. "The contract and money is going to be there. I don't plan on leaving this organisation and the situation that we have. My focus honestly is just focusing on the season and winning a championship."

The 32-year-old is locked in for this season and has an option for the 2022-23 campaign, which will allow him to enter free agency next summer if he opts not to sign an extension. Harden is owed $44.3 million this season, and is eligible to add three more years for $161 million if he agrees a new deal with the Nets.

Irving, on the other hand, is in a very different situation after the former Boston Celtics star was told that he will not be part of the team until he meets New York's mandate requiring all persons above the age of 12 to be vaccinated to enter closed spaces. The point guard's aversion for the vaccine saw him sit out all the preseason games, and it is likely to see him out from most of the campaign if he fails to get the jab.

James Harden
James Harden Kyrie Irving Rockets Nets Steven Ryan/Getty Images