Has Mikhail Prokhorov Grown Tired of his Expensive Toy?
Brooklyn Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov has quickly gained a reputation in the NBA. In his huge thirst for a championship, the Russian tycoon has thrown enough bad money at a middling roster to make one of the hippest brands in the league crater financially. The roughly $80 million he paid in the luxury tax this summer (barely less than the approximate $100 million his roster cost) was easily an NBA record.
Prokhorov gave general manager Billy King a light so green that he drove the Nets into a state of guaranteed, prolonged mediocrity. The NBA’s salary cap is dense with punitive measures for teams that spend recklessly, and Brooklyn is going to be paying extra for years, just for the right to field a team. Prokhorov may be a billionaire, but his money only goes so far here.
So now, faced with the prospect of little-to-no glory and all those extra fees, Prokhorov wants to sell. Deron Williams, Joe Johnson, Kevin Garnett and Brook Lopez have all been terrific players at one time or another, but they’re all injury-prone, past their peaks, and ultimately never amounted to a team tough enough to compete with LeBron James.
The $2 billion price tag that new Los Angeles Clippers owner Steve Ballmer paid couldn’t have hurt, either. Prokhorov is a businessman, and as much as he’d love for his toy to work, he’s not going to let the opportunity to flip it for massive gain go to waste. NBA franchises are selling for a ton right now — so much, in fact, that any reasonable economist should expect their prices to hit a point of diminishing returns in coming years.
As of now, there is one reported serious suitor for the Nets: Guggenheim Sports and Entertainment Assets, owners of the Los Angeles Dodgers. Nets Daily — who broke the story — claims that current valuations have the team package (which doesn't include the brand-new, state-of-the-art Barclays Center in Park Slope) worth around $1.7 billion. The arena itself is said to be in the ballpark of $1.1 billion. Stay tuned.
— John Wilmes