It was reported earlier today that Mikhail Prokhorov had contracted an outside firm to find a buyer for the Brooklyn Nets, not even 3 full years after the club moved from Newark to the Barclays Center. Though Prokhorov is likely to fetch a massive return on his investment, CBS Sports’ Ken Berger calls the Russian billionaire’s tenure in the NBA, “vastly unfulfilling”.
At least he’s been good for the zingers. In a 2012 appearance at the construction site of the Barclays Center, Prokhorov turned a conversation about prospective free-agent Deron Williams into a comedy club warmup act. With Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban targeting Williams as a free agent, Prokhorov said, “Let the best man win. If he wins, I will crush him with the kickboxing throwdown.”
Williams, of course, re-signed with the Nets for $100 million. With more than $43 million left on that deal after this season as he rides Brooklyn’s bench, Williams will show up as one of the biggest liabilities on the offering plan that Prokhorov’s bankers write up.
So who won that throwdown?
Prokhorov’s basketball legacy will be that of a sharp-witted, frivolous spender who oversaw the most expensive team in NBA history last season — one that couldn’t get out of the second round. He also oversaw another exit, that of franchise icon Jason Kidd. While the Nets might have been right to snub their noses at Kidd’s awkward, agent-driven power play last summer, facts are facts. Kidd has the surprising Bucks in the fifth spot without No. 2 overall pick Jabari Parker. The Nets are only three games behind them in the loss column, but be patient; the firesale that precedes most ownership transfers hasn’t started yet.