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New Jersey Nets Getting Inside 2009-10-02 News New Jersey Nets

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News » New Jersey Nets Getting Inside 2009-10-02

New Jersey Nets Getting Inside 2009-10-02

New Jersey Nets Getting Inside 2009-10-02They have young, athletic wings, an All-Star point guard, a budding star at center. Plus, a new owner. And that by far, is the most significant story around the Nets as they prepare for what could be a long 2009-10 season.

Mikhail Prokhorov, a Russian billionaire worth an estimated $9.5 billion, has agreed to buy 80 percent of the Nets and 45 percent of the proposed Barclays Center arena in Brooklyn from owner Bruce Ratner. The Russian's pockets are deeper than the debts incurred by the Nets, who lost an estimated $25 million in the first six months of 2009 alone.

The Nets' players, naturally, are more than interested bystanders. They're hoping Prokhorov will be of the Mark Cuban-George Steinbrenner ilk, a guy who'll spend whatever it takes. He was successful running CSKA Moscow in the Euroleague and with the fabled free agent class of 2010 approaching, Prokhorov's checkbook should come into play.

"Of course we (care)," said veteran Keyon Dooling, who also is a VP in the NBA's Players union. "It affects everything. The type of owner you have is a direct reflection of what type of team you have."

Figure LeBron James, Chris Bosh, Dwyane Wade, Joe Johnson, Amare Stoudemire, et al, won't be looking at any place run by cheap, spendthrift or needy owners. So Prokhorov, who made his fortune in part through nickel mining, brings the financial infusion the Nets need desperately.

"It's no secret we're having financial difficulties," Dooling, whose contract is up after the year, said. "So I'm very enthused by this. I'm in a position where I might be re-signed or not the following year. It might be a situation where money decides. Nobody wants the decision to be based solely on money."

Said Devin Harris, "I hear he has deep pockets. And from what I hear, the way he constructed his Russian team, he spent money to win. And I hope that's the approach he'll take here. But it's not something that's in stone, so we can't worry about it.

"It gives our team a little more of a direction," Harris added. "Obviously, with a new owner whose reputation is a winning reputation, we have a little more direction. Brooklyn looks like it could be more of a possibility now, so we go from there."

The sale, which stipulates the team moves to Brooklyn, is contingent on the approval by the NBA's Board of Governors. But when the deal was first announced, NBA Commissioner David Stern gave it a seal of approval as the globalization of the league continued.

"We are looking forward to the Nets' move to a state-of-the-art facility in Brooklyn," Stern said in a statement. "Interest in basketball and the NBA is growing rapidly on a global basis and we are especially encouraged by Mr. Prokhorov's commitment to the Nets and the opportunity it presents to continue the growth of basketball in Russia."

Author: Fox Sports
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Added: October 2, 2009


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