Denver Nuggets shooting guard Gary Harris said Wednesday at an event at the Girls Athletic Leadership School in Denver put on by the Jr. NBA that he’s not worried about getting a contract extension done before the Oct. 16 deadline and is just excited to get the year started.
“You never know. If we can come to an agreement and get something done that works out best for not just me but for the team, perfect, it’s good,” Harris told BSN Denver. “But if not, we still got a big year ahead of us and we’ve got a lot of goals that we need to focus on.
Oct. 16 — the day before the start of the regular season — is the last day that eligible players can sign rookie extensions. If Harris’ camp and the Nuggets don’t come to an agreement by then, the 23-year-old will hit restricted free agency next summer. If Harris signs an offer sheet with another team in restricted free agency next year, Denver would have 72 hours to match and retain his services.
“No, (it’s not on my mind),” Harris said of the extension. “I’m just ready to get ready for camp, ready to get rolling, especially with the squad we have it’s going to be a fun year.”
After the Nuggets agreed to a three-year $41 million contract with restricted free agent Mason Plumlee earlier this week, president of basketball operations Tim Connelly is expected to turn his attention towards getting an extension done with Harris, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.
“It’s up there,” Connelly said in April when asked how high on his priority list extending Harris was this offseason. “Gary is a guy that really embodies everything we’re about both his development as a person and a player.”
“The neat thing is this summer it’s up to us and Gary. We’ll be pretty aggressive trying to get something done,” Connelly continued. “If we don’t, we’ll go to the following season and get something done. He’s going to be here for a long time whether that number’s in stone this summer or in 2018.”
Harris was the subject of trade rumors this summer when a three-team deal involving the Nuggets, Pacers, and Cavaliers, that would have sent the two-guard, who averaged 14.9 points and shot 42.0 percent from three last year to Indiana and Kevin Love to Denver, reportedly fell through at the last minute.
“It’s mixed emotions. At the end of the day it’s out of my control,” Harris said of the rumors in August. “I really don’t stress about it too much because it’s either, I’m gonna stay or I’m gonna leave. So it’s pretty simple. I’m glad I’m still here and I’m looking forward to next season.”
In 2016, eight eligible players signed rookie extensions from July 1 through Oct. 31.
- C.J. McCollum (Trail Blazers): Four years, $106.6M – Completed July 25
- Steven Adams (Thunder): Four years, $100M – Completed Oct. 31
- Giannis Antetokounmpo (Bucks): Four years, $100M – Completed Sep. 19
- Rudy Gobert (Jazz): Four years, $90M – Completed Oct. 31
- Victor Oladipo (Thunder): Four years, $84M – Completed Oct. 31
- Gorgui Dieng (Timberwolves): Four years, $62.8M – Completed Oct. 31
- Dennis Schroder (Hawks): Four years, $62M – Completed Oct. 26
- Cody Zeller (Hornets): Four years, $55M – Completed Oct. 31
Harris isn’t focused on a possible extension but on next week’s training camp and Denver’s first preseason game in Golden State, that’s just ten days away.
“You can feel the expectations and everybody’s just embracing it,” Harris said. “Just being around the guys, we have the whole team here, just playing 5-on-5, playing pickup it’s super competitive we have a super talented team. We have 18 guys in the gym, like 1-18, it’s fun, we’re just out there competing every day. It’s going to be a fun year.”
Expectations are the highest they’ve been in Denver in recent memory with the Nuggets returning all their major contributors from last year’s 40-win team minus Danilo Gallinari. Add in marquee free agent signing Paul Millsap and the Nuggets have their sights set on a playoff run.
Harris is just ready to get things started.
“Playoffs are the goal and we’re not just trying to go for that last spot,” Harris said. “We’re trying to make our stake in the Western Conference and we have the squad to do it. So we have to come out and be focused. It’s not going to be easy but I think it’s a job that we can do.”