- Mikhail Prokhorov, who recently sold his interest in the Nets, inquired about other NBA franchises — including the Knicks — before he was approved as the majority owner of the Brooklyn franchise. His top basketball adviser, Sergei Kushchenko, revealed that to TASS in a story relayed by NetsDaily.com. ”We were looking over various options at that time,” Kushchenko said. “Among them were the New York Knicks, who asked for a bizarre sum, the Phoenix Suns and the New Jersey Nets. We decided to focus on the New Jersey Nets since it was a completely different market then in addition to the prospect of the new arena’s construction along with a full-fledged business framework.” Prokhorov was also scared away by the Knicks’ debt load, according to NetsDaily.
Kyrie Irving is already making his presence felt as the leader of the Nets, Brian Lewis of the New York Post writes. Irving has helped lead informal team workouts that includes the likes of DeAndre Jordan, Taurean Prince, Caris LeVert, Theo Pinson, David Nwaba and free agent Carmelo Anthony in Los Angeles over the past few weeks, with training camp set to start in less than two months.
“It was basically player-driven,” Pinson said of the workouts, as relayed by Lewis. “Kyrie was out there, and we wanted to get with him, so we just all went out there and just worked out together.”
Brooklyn revamped its roster this offseason, bringing in several new players and moving on from star guard D’Angelo Russell in a sign-and-trade with the Warriors for Kevin Durant. The team’s sudden roster overhaul makes it imperative that players get acclimated to each other before camp begins, with Irving helping lead the way for the franchise this month.
“It’s good. It gives us a little head start going into camp. Just getting not just on the court and [basketball-wise], but off the court also: playing ‘[NBA] 2K’, going to dinner and stuff like that. It’s been fun,” Pinson said.
There’s more out of Brooklyn today:
- Chris Mannix of Sports Illustrated examines the complicated legacy left behind by Mikhail Prokhorov, who’s set to officially offload the rest of his ownership in the team to Joe Tsai at the end of August. Prokhorov acquired the Nets for $223 million in 2009, selling the team for $2.35 billion this summer.
- Like Prokhorov, Tsai is confident his purchase in the Nets will prove to be a profitable decision down the road, Josh Kosman and Brian Lewis write for the New York Post. Tsai is banking on the NBA’s international growth — particularly in China — along with the superstar additions of Irving and Durant to help lead the way.
- Former Turner Sports executive David Levy is a serious candidate to replace Brett Yormark as CEO of the franchise, Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN tweets. Yormark recently announced his departure after spending 14 years with the team, leaving alongside Prokhorov.
- With the Nets swapping one wealthy foreign owner for another, Brian Lewis of The New York Post suggests that the team’s willingness to spend won’t change much as Joseph Tsai takes the reins from Mikhail Prokhorov. However, Lewis expects Tsai to be far more visible around the Nets and the NBA than Prokhorov had been in recent years.
Nets minority shareholder Joseph Tsai has formally entered into an agreement with majority shareholder Mikhail Prokhorov to purchase full ownership of the franchise, the Nets confirmed today in a press release. As part of the deal, Prokhorov will also sell full ownership of the Barclays Center to Tsai.
The NBA’s Board of Governors still must officially approve the transaction, but that’s considered a mere formality. Tsai has long been expected to assume full ownership of the Nets since he bought a 49% stake in the team in April 2018. According to the press release, the arena and team sales are expected to close by the end of September.
“I’ve had the opportunity to witness up close the Brooklyn Nets rebuild that Mikhail started a few years ago,” Tsai said in a statement. “He hired a front office and coaching staff focused on player development, he supported the organization with all his resources, and he refused to tank. I will be the beneficiary of Mikhail’s vision, which put the Nets in a great position to compete, and for which I am incredibly grateful.”
According to reports from NetsDaily (Twitter link) and Scott Soshnick of Bloomberg, the total valuation for the Nets and the Barclays Center is $3.5 billion. The team – without the arena – was initially valued as $2.35 billion when Tsai bought his 49% stake last year.
Prokhorov will make out particularly well in the deal. When he assumed full ownership of the Nets and their arena in 2015, the team was valued at $875MM and the arena was valued at $825MM, for a total of $1.7 billion. The new total valuation of $3.5 billion is more than double that amount.
As we relayed on Thursday night, Nets CEO Brett Yormark is stepping down as team ownership changes hands. In their press release, the Nets confirmed that Yormark will oversee the transition to new ownership before “departing for a new role.”
Tsai, the co-founder and executive vice chairman of Alibaba Group, who is reportedly worth an estimated $9.9 billion, is expected to help the NBA grow its presence in China. He appears to have invested in the Nets at the right time — when he initially bought his 49% share last April, the team was coming off a 28-54 performance. The club boosted that mark to 42-40 last season, then made a huge splash in free agency by signing Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving.
Brett Yormark, the lead executive for both the Nets and Barclays Center, is stepping down as the team’s top executive ahead of an impending ownership change that will see Taiwanese businessman Joseph Tsai become the franchise’s owner, reports Scott Soshnick of Bloomberg.
- Carmelo Anthony‘s presence in summer workouts with Nets players doesn’t mean Brooklyn plans to sign him, according to Brian Lewis of The New York Post. “Nothing to it,” a source close to Anthony said. “There’s several guys (playing) that aren’t Nets, but friends and other NBA players.” Team officials and Anthony’s agent, Leon Rose, refused to comment.
Draymond Green still considers Kevin Durant to be a close friend, despite their highly publicized confrontation last November and Durant’s decision to leave Golden State in free agency. In an interview with ESPN’s Rachel Nichols that aired today on “The Jump” (video link), Green talks about the success they had with the Warriors and says he learned that Durant was joining the Nets at the same time everyone else did.
“He don’t owe it to me to tell me before everybody else,” Green said. “We did what we had to do. The thing that people forget about in this league is this is our lives. I’m not about to go to Kevin Durant and say, ‘Hey Kevin, can I get my fiancé pregnant?’ But that’s my life. I’m sorry but that’s my life. Am I supposed to come to you and A) Let you know that that’s what I wanna do? Or B) Ask you for permission? No. So I found out when everybody else found out, which is exactly how it should be.”
Green also said he talked to Durant yesterday and still thinks of him as “my brother.” He’s grateful for what they accomplished as teammates, including two titles and a loss in this year’s Finals, calling it “a major success.”
There’s more Warriors news to pass along:
- Green also touched on the four-year, $99.7MM contract extension he signed last week. Although he might have earned more on the open market, he’s happy to be tied to the Warriors through the end of the 2023/24 season. He also considers it validation for the aggressive way he likes to play the game. “This contract tells you that all the garbage that you tried to say about me — arguing with Kevin or about the things with Steve Kerr or about the suspension (in the 2016 NBA Finals) — it just tells you that there was a method to that madness,” Green said.
- This summer’s roster upheaval has left Stephen Curry as the Warriors’ oldest player for the first time in his career, notes Anthony Slater of The Athletic. A few months ago, Curry was the fifth oldest, but the team parted with five players who were past their 30th birthday.
- With D’Angelo Russell joining the league’s most celebrated backcourt, Curry tells Slater that a three-guard approach can be successful once Klay Thompson returns from a torn ACL. “You get creative on how you mix up matchups, create good offense throughout the entire game,” Curry said. “Even defensively, I know there’s a lot of talk about that, our size, but the competitive fire will come out and find ways to get it done on that end of the floor.”
Carmelo Anthony has been involved in informal team workouts and scrimmages with several members of the Nets, leading to speculation that he could get a shot to revive his career in Brooklyn, according to Ian Begley and Anthony Puccio of SNY.tv.
The authors emphasize that there haven’t been any reports indicating the Nets reached out to Anthony or his representatives, and it’s uncertain if the team has any interest in adding the veteran forward. Still, it’s significant that Anthony seems to be a regular participant in the sessions, which are being held in Los Angeles and were organized by Kyrie Irving.
Brooklyn already has 16 players under contract, with 15 fully guaranteed, so one of those guaranteed deals would have to be traded or waived to create a roster spot for Anthony. The Nets inked Henry Ellenson to a two-way contract and draft pick Jaylen Hands remains unsigned, so the team has at least two openings on its offseason roster as training camp nears.
Anthony, of course, has a long history in the New York area, spending parts of seven seasons with the Knicks. SNY reported in June that the Knicks may have been interested in a reunion if they had landed Irving and Kevin Durant in free agency. Anthony played 10 games for the Rockets last season before being traded to the Bulls in January and waived a few days later.
Nets minority shareholder Joseph Tsai, who currently owns 49% of the franchise, is set to assume control of the remaining 51% earlier than expected, according to Josh Kosman and Brian Lewis of The New York Post.
As Kosman and Lewis report, Tsai is close to signing a deal to complete the purchase that will give him full control of the Nets. The move is expected to be announced next week, according to The Post.
When Tsai first bought a 49% stake in the Nets in April 2018, Mikhail Prokhorov retained control of the remaining 51% with an understanding that Tsai would have the option to buy him out within three years. It appears that buyout will happen just 16 months later.
At the time of Tsai’s initial purchase, the Nets were given a valuation of $2.35 billion, with Tsai paying $1 billion for his 49% stake. As Kosman and Lewis confirm, the billionaire co-founder of Alibaba will pay $1.35 billion for the other 51%. The total cost of $2.35 billion will mark the highest price ever paid for a sports franchise, according to The Post.
Tsai, who is worth an estimated $9.9 billion, is also in talks to purchase the Barclays Center, as Kosman and Lewis note. The native of Taiwan is a member of NBA China and is expected to help the league grow its presence in China.
Tsai appears to have bought into the Nets at the right time — when he completed his initial purchase, the team was coming off a 28-54 performance. The club boosted that mark to 42-40 last season, then made a huge splash in free agency by signing Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving.
The signing of Kawhi Leonard and the trade for Paul George helped the Clippers have the league’s best offseason, according to David Aldridge of The Athletic. L.A. added two potential MVP candidates while keeping the core of last year’s playoff team intact and acquiring another rotation piece by trading for Maurice Harkless.
The Nets, who also hit the jackpot in free agency by signing Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving, finished second on Aldridge’s list, followed by the Jazz, Lakers and Sixers. At the bottom are the Hornets, who lost Kemba Walker and replaced him with Terry Rozier, and the Warriors, who not only saw Durant leave, but also parted with Andre Iguodala and Shaun Livingston, two key components of their championship teams.
There’s more NBA-related news to pass along:
- Tony Wroten, whose journey to the EuroLeague we profiled earlier this week, has decided to sign with Anwil Wloclawek in Poland rather than KK Zadar in Croatia, tweets Emiliano Carchia of Sportando. Wroten, 26, attended a mini-camp with the Wizards in June.
- Lithuanian swingman Rokas Giedraitis turned down multiple opportunities to play in Summer League this year, according to international basketball writer Donatas Urbonas (Twitter link). A few teams considered offering him a two-way deal last year, but he remains “under the NBA radar.” Giedraitis is considered a late bloomer at 27 and is under contract with Alba Berlin for the upcoming season.
- Jason Caffey admits he embraced an irresponsible lifestyle during his time in the NBA, and now he is trying to warn younger athletes not to make the same mistakes, writes Gary Washburn of The Boston Globe. Caffey believes the choices he made, along with an undiagnosed mental illness, prevented him from having a longer career. Caffey had 10 children with eight women and says watching their success inspired him to change. “When I saw them doing so well — got a son at Alabama and a daughter at Missouri, D1 schools,” he said. “I knew then if I could help my own kids — kids who were pegged to be kids of a guy who’s a deadbeat dad, a guy who’s never going to be anything again — when I overcame that stigma, I knew it was time for me to step out and help other children.”