Brooklyn Nets: Mikhail Prokhorov

Offseason breakdown: Mikhail Prokhorov

June, 13, 2014
Jun 13
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This is the 15th and final installment of our daily Nets player-by-player breakdown, with an emphasis on what’s to come for next season.

MIKHAIL PROKHOROV, OWNER

[+] EnlargeJason Kidd and Mikhail Prokhorov
Debby Wong/USA TODAY SportsMikhail Prokhorov's decision to stay patient with first-year coach Jason Kidd proved to be a good one.
Year in review: Prokhorov wasn’t seen or heard from very much this season, attending only a handful of games. He did spent a ton of money -- over $190 million including an NBA-record in luxury taxes -- but his roster failed to win him the championship he so desperately covets. Prokhorov’s decision to stay patient with first-year coach Jason Kidd did pay dividends.

He also had several things going on away from the court, from his business ventures to the uneasiness of the relations between the United States and Russia. Prokhorov recently announced his intentions to move the company that runs to the Nets to his native land, though the NBA said it had not received an application from the team to make the change.

Role moving forward: As long as he continues to spend -- and there’s no reason to believe he won’t -- Prokhorov will continue to be beloved by Nets’ fans. It’ll be interesting to see how the relations between the U.S. and Russia affect Prokhorov moving forward.

Contract status: Prokhorov owns 80 percent of the team and 45 percent of Barclays Center. He paid $223 million for this in May of 2010.

What they’re saying: “I'd like to thank Nets management and players for all their efforts over the course of this crazy season. Despite roster changes, injuries and a difficult start, you clawed us back into contention. It made for a thrilling spring. And to the fans, thank you for your support through thick and thin. Next season, we pick up right where we left off!” -- Prokhorov’s statement at the end of the season.

Should they bring him back: When Prokhorov became owner, his goal was to win a championship by 2015. Otherwise, he’d get married. Well, at this rate, he’d better start looking hard for a wife. Prokhorov’s investment in the Nets from a business perspective has been a fantastic one. They are certainly worth way more than he paid for them.


Starting Five: Brooklyn's billionaire owner

March, 5, 2014
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Brooklyn Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov’s net worth is at $10.9 billion, according to Forbes.

That makes him tied for the 109th-richest person on the planet.

Forbes valued Prokhorov’s NBA franchise at $780 million back in January, nearly four times what he paid for them back in 2010.

Last year, Prokhorov’s net worth was reportedly $13 million.

The 48-year-old Russian has certainly put a lot of his money into the Nets, who will have a payroll of around $190 million by the end of the season.

Question: What do you think of Prokhorov as an owner? Let us know in the comments section below.

Stat of the night: If the Nets beat the Memphis Grizzlies Wednesday night, they will move one game over .500 for the first time this season.

In case you missed it: Kevin Garnett is a game-time decision Wednesday night, but the Nets did just fine without him against the Chicago Bulls.

Up next: Nets vs. Grizzlies Wednesday night at Barclays Center

Prokhorov's patience paying off with Kidd

January, 16, 2014
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Following one of his team’s blowout losses, Brooklyn Nets first-year coach Jason Kidd received a call from owner Mikhail Prokhorov.

The Russian billionaire’s message to the future Hall of Fame point guard turned coach: You’re not on the hot seat. Don’t believe what you read. Ignore the critics. You’re my guy.

“I didn’t know I had any critics,” Kidd joked to reporters in London following his team’s 127-110 blowout victory over the Atlanta Hawks Thursday at The O2 Arena.

Easy to say when you have the full support of your owner -- and your team is firing on all cylinders.

Prokhorov may not be as patient as James Dolan -- so says the New York Knicks owner, anyway -- but he has remained patient with Kidd. And that patience is starting to pay off.

[+] EnlargeJason Kidd
Julian Finney/Getty ImagesJason Kidd's rocky start to coaching is smoothing out in 2014.
Since the New Year began and Kidd shed his tie, the Nets (16-22) are 6-1.

But it’s not just about the calendar change or the lack of neckwear.

For the first time all season, the Nets are playing cohesively on offense and tenaciously on defense, dictating pace and dominating the opposition with their smaller lineups.

“Mikhail is the best,” Kidd said. “He’s got a great sense of humor, but he wants to win, and everybody that’s wearing a Net uniform or is employed by the Nets, we all want to win. We might not have gotten off to the start that we wanted, but it’s a process and the biggest thing is from our owners to our players, no one panicked. And we feel that we’re getting better each day and we’ve still got some room to grow and get healthy and see what happens.”

Prokhorov’s Nets came into the season with a projected $190 million payroll and championship expectations. But they got off to a 5-14 start, and Kidd quickly came under fire, his rookie coaching season stained by his decision to re-assign assistant Lawrence Frank to doing “daily reports” and “soda-gate.”

And who could forget about all the injuries? Brook Lopez done for the season. Deron Williams consistently hampered by ankle injuries. Andrei Kirilenko and Jason Terry missing significant time.

Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce looked shot. Furthermore, the team lacked energy and effort on a nightly basis.

One scout told ESPN Insider David Thorpe Kidd was “the worst coach in the NBA.” Another told Bleacher Report, “he doesn’t do anything.”

Just a season ago, Avery Johnson was fired following a 14-14 start.

Not Kidd.

He was the guy the team’s Russian ownership group pushed for despite being just weeks removed from his retirement following a 19-year playing career. The guy they believed in. The guy they were going to stick with through thick and thin.

“What is more important is that Jason Kidd is being more and more comfortable. And what is important is he has the support of the players,” Prokhorov replied when asked about the difference between Kidd and Johnson.

Kidd ripped into his team following 17-point home loss to the Chicago Bulls on Christmas. Six days later, the Nets were whooped by 21 in San Antonio on New Year’s Eve.

But they’ve lost just once since. And over the past two weeks, they rank eighth in defensive efficiency and 13th in offensive efficiency.

Kidd’s systems are starting to take shape. Joe Johnson is playing like an All-Star. Garnett and Pierce look rejuvenated. Reserves Shaun Livingston and Mirza Teletovic have stepped up to play prominent roles. Kirilenko has been such a difference-maker on both ends of the floor.

[+] EnlargeProkhorov
Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE/Getty ImagesBrooklyn Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov has given Jason Kidd his support despite the team's slow start.
Williams has been recovering from his second cortisone shot-PRP injection combo in as many seasons, but the Nets have done just fine without him; they may even get their $98 million point guard back Monday against the Knicks.

“It’s always great to have support from the top guy, from our owner,” Kidd said. “But I think we’re all on the same page that we want to win. There’s a process, and you can see the team is starting to play better since the New Year, but when you hear those words, they’re always encouraging. But it’s more about those guys in the locker room, and those guys are playing at a high level right now.”

The Nets may not be on the level of the Miami Heat or the Indiana Pacers, but they just might be the third-best team in the Eastern Conference when this 82-game regular season is all said and done.

Then, as both Prokhorov and GM Billy King pointed out, anything is possible.

And why not think that way -- especially given the way their coach is coaching and their players are playing.

How much did that phone call have to do with it? Who knows. But it couldn’t have hurt.

“I told him about a very famous Russian writer Mikhail Bulgakov, who said, ‘Don’t read Soviet papers before breakfast,’ ” Prokhorov said. “In other words, don’t pay any attention to what they are writing about. Just keep doing your job.”

Nets preach patience after Cavs loss

October, 31, 2013
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CLEVELAND -- When Brooklyn introduced Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Jason Terry at a news conference this past summer, the Nets were quick to talk championship.

But lost in all the title talk was the fact that the championship process takes time. Owner Mikhail Prokhorov and general manager Billy King went out and bought the expensive ingredients. But Jason Kidd won't be able to cook up championship chemistry as quickly as one of his signature blazing fast breaks.

It’s only one game, but the Nets’ season-opening 98-94 loss to the upstart Cavaliers revealed signs of why it might take patience before we see this loaded roster at its peak, hitting on all cylinders.

[+] EnlargeKevin Garnett
David Richard/USA TODAY SportsHow bad did the Nets want to open the season with a win? Just check Kevin Garnett's face. That bad.
“It is going to be a little more than patience,” Garnett explained. “But everybody has to be patient. It’s not just because you assemble guys that things are just going to voila!”

Perhaps the Nets will come out like gangbusters on Friday and start an incredible winning streak against the defending champion Miami Heat. But really, it wouldn’t be surprising at all if the Nets don’t hit their stride for a while.

For starters, the Nets’ starting five of Garnett, Pierce, Deron Williams, Brook Lopez and Joe Johnson just started playing together. They had very little camp time to develop chemistry, with Williams missing most of training camp due to a sore ankle. When asked to describe what it felt like to have the starting five out there early against Cleveland, Garnett said it felt like the starters were overwhelmed with “anxiety.”

To show how badly the five wanted to come together quickly, Garnett made a strained face that displayed grit and determination but with a hint of struggle and frustration.

“Everybody wanted it right here, right now,” said Garnett, who had eight points and 10 rebounds in his first Nets game. “That’s not the process. The process is going to be something gradual and something that we all work into and flow into. And we all got to be patient with that process.”

The starters didn’t even get to see what they can do in the fourth quarter of a tightly contested game. Despite erasing a nine-point, fourth-quarter deficit and tying the game four different times -- the last of which came with 1:04 left –- the Nets kept Williams on the bench for the entire fourth quarter. On a minutes restriction, Williams logged a total of 21:44.

The engine that will drive the Nets will be brought along slowly, and Brooklyn is not going to risk its star point guard to try to win a game in October, which is absolutely the smart thing to do.

Williams doesn’t know when the Nets will take off the minutes limit and even when that happens, the starters will need time to mesh and learn one another. The same goes for integrating other key pieces such as the injured Andrei Kirilenko (back spasms) and Terry, who missed a good chunk of the preseason coming off knee surgery.

“As guys get healthy, AK and Deron Williams getting healthy, I see us doing nothing but getting better,” said Pierce, who had 17 points in his Nets debut. “Obviously, we didn’t have Deron there in the fourth quarter. So when they are able to get his minutes up to when he is able to close out games, we will be a different team.”

The Nets didn’t even have their coach in the building as Kidd served the first game of a two-game suspension, with assistant Joe Prunty acting as the temporary coach. Kidd isn’t going to start his first season as a coach until Sunday at Orlando.

He’ll need time to figure out rotations, substitution patterns and in-game coaching adjustments on the fly in the heat of a tight game in the final seconds. Kidd will also have to learn how much to play veterans such as Pierce and Garnett as the season progresses. Both played less than 30 minutes against the Cavs.

Still, despite all this, the Nets were in this game against Cleveland. They played good defense but failed to stop the Cavs for the full 24 seconds at critical junctures in the fourth. Pierce also had a chance to tie the game with 16.9 seconds but missed an 18-footer that let the Cavs escape.

The Nets know that they might not be able to control how long it will take for all their parts to come together. But they can control things such as playing defense and securing critical rebounds (the Nets surrendered 16 offensive rebounds).

“These are learning lessons,” Garnett said.

The question is how long will these lessons last? Patience is required to make championship runs.

“Well, hopefully the finished the product will be us hoisting up the trophy, so we know it’s a long haul,” Terry said. “When it happens, it is going to be special.”

Nets rival Yankees for highest N.Y. payroll

July, 26, 2013
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Who will pay more for their roster next season: the Brooklyn Nets or the New York Yankees?

Brooklyn’s addition of Alan Anderson means its 2013-14 payroll is around $102 million for 15 players, and its projected luxury-tax bill is around $87 million.

[+] EnlargeBilly King, Mikhail Prokhorov
Debby Wong/USA TODAY SportsBrooklyn Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov has invested millions toward his five-year goal to win a title.
That, of course, equals $189 million, the same amount Yankees brass has mandated that its payroll be at for 2014 in order to take advantage of the latest CBA luxury tax rule.

Of note: The Nets’ official payroll and luxury tax figures won’t be known until the season is over, since things can change between now and June. Last season, they paid $12,883,647 million in luxury taxes, the third-highest figure in the league. But this season, tax penalties have changed from a $1 for every $1 over the tax level system to a progressive system.

Nets billionaire owner Mikhail Prokhorov has spent like late Yankees owner George Steinbrenner in the past two offseasons -- with a seemingly endless wallet -- determined to see his five-year championship plan come to fruition.

According to ESPN.com, the Yankees are spending $203.4 million on their roster this season, which ranks second behind the Los Angeles Dodgers ($220.4 million).

New York has been hit with the luxury tax for the past 10 seasons -- 2013 will be their 11th -- amassing a total bill of $224.2 million over that span.

But meeting their club-imposed $189 million mandate is going to be very difficult for the Yankees, in large part because Robinson Cano is likely due for a massive $200 million to $300 million payday at season’s end.

The Knicks had an NBA-record $126 million payroll and $37.2 million luxury tax bill in 2005-06.

The Blazers paid a then league-record $51.9 million in luxury taxes in 2002-03.

Prokhorov on Kidd hire: It's about 'Top Gun'

July, 18, 2013
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[+] EnlargeJason Kidd and Mikhail Prokhorov
Debby Wong/USA TODAY SportsMaverick and Goose? Jason Kidd and Mikhail Prokhorov pose for a photo on Thursday.
NEW YORK -- After the introductory news conference for Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Jason Terry on Thursday at Barclays Center, Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov talked about his decision to hire first-year coach Jason Kidd.

"It was Jason's idea. He came to us with this idea, and I was the one who signed off on it," Prokhorov said. "There is a logic, and I want to share with this logic why I made this decision. [There are] players in the NBA who display the ability to coach when they're playing -- in terms of leadership, in terms of guiding play and in terms of motivating their players. Jason Kidd was that kind of player.

"Maybe you do remember a film 'Top Gun.' This film just arrived in Russia one week ago. I want to refresh your memory. Tom Cruise plays 'Maverick,' and he was the one who was a top flier and a real leader. And at the end of the day, he made a decision to be instructor because it was the highest value just to be a leader.

"So Jason Kidd is our Top Gun, and he will do his best I'm sure with all his skills to evaluate the whole team."

Said Kidd: "It's been a while since I watched that movie. Does Maverick make it all the way through?"

Prokhorov: Deal may help me avoid altar

July, 18, 2013
7/18/13
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Paul Pierce, Mikhail Prokhorov, Kevin Garnett and Jason Terry.Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE/Getty ImagesMikhail Prokhorov welcomes Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Jason Terry to the Nets.
NEW YORK -- Brooklyn Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov doesn't plan on getting married anytime soon.

"I can assure you that no process for the time being [of] looking for a wife is under way. This is for sure," Prokhorov joked at Thursday's introductory news conference for Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Jason Terry at Barclays Center.

Prokhorov, 48, has said he'll get married if the Nets don't win a championship by 2015; they are in the fourth year of his five-year championship plan.

"When I bought the team I promised to create a championship contender, and [a] team worthy of Brooklyn," Prokhorov said. "I've done what I can. And now I think it's time for the team to [win it all]."

Prokhorov's Nets are in position to contend for a title after acquiring Garnett, Pierce and Terry in a blockbuster trade and signing Andrei Kirilenko. Brooklyn already has a core of stars in Deron Williams, Joe Johnson and Brook Lopez.

"I'll be proud when we win the championship. I'm not a man of procedure, I am a man of results," Prokhorov said.

"We need a championship team. ... It's not [my] way to wait 10 to 15 years for results, and I don't think our fans [want to wait] either."

According to a league source, Prokhorov is going pay in the neighborhood of an NBA-record $184 million for his roster this season: $101 million in payroll and $83 million in projected luxury taxes.

"I think they're still counting [money] in the back office, but frankly speaking, I just hope the check doesn't bounce," Prokhorov said.

Prokhorov is close with Kirilenko, going back to their days when Prokhorov owned CSKA Moscow and Kirilenko played there. Prokhorov said he was involved in the deal to sign Kirilenko, but only called his Russian countryman after the deal was closed.

Kirilenko signed for $3.1 million, nearly $7 million less than he made with the Minnesota Timberwolves last season. Rumors circulated that rival executives were upset and that Kirilenko and the Nets had brokered a side deal to make up the difference.

"I respect all the NBA rules and we play by the NBA rules," Prokhorov said. "Like with the luxury tax, I will do whatever I can in order to win [a] championship, but under the NBA rules. Please, no mistake about this."

Prokhorov said he wasn't going to be at the news conference, but made the last-minute decision to come for a few hours to say hello to his team's newest acquisitions.

Prokhorov likes the additions of Paul, Pierce and Garnett.

"They are tough and they bring experience and what I like from my team is that we have a very good balance between youth and experience, between anchors and wings," Prokhorov said. "And [that's what] maybe we're missing that last season. So I'm quite happy we reached this balance."

Prokhorov also took a moment to address the budding Nets-Knicks rivalry.

"I'm very lucky that my new players are familiar to the New York audience. And I think that there will be great anticipation when the teams meet," he said. "I want to congratulate [Knicks owner] James Dolan. He's watching us for the time being."

Prokhorov says NBA championships must be won -- not bought.

"In the NBA, money is important, but you can't buy a championship only by spending money," he said. "The most important thing is to put pieces together and to create championship contender, and frankly speaking, I'll do whatever I can do in order to bring a championship here to Brooklyn. For me, that was my goal when I bought this team."

Nets face record $80 million luxury-tax bill

July, 2, 2013
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NEW YORK -- Brooklyn Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov will be paying approximately $180 million for his team's roster next season -- including $80 million in luxury taxes, according to a league source.

The previous high for a luxury-tax bill is believed to be $51.9 million, paid by the Portland Trail Blazers in 2002-03.

Assuming they use their remaining three roster spots (one taxpayer mini midlevel exception and two veterans minimums), the Nets' payroll would be around $100 million.

Their projected starting five alone -- Deron Williams ($18.5 million), Joe Johnson ($21.5 million), Paul Pierce ($15.3 million), Kevin Garnett ($12.4 million) and Brook Lopez ($14.7 million) -- will make about $82.4 million combined in 2013-14.

To put that $180 million figure into perspective, it represents just 1.3 percent of Prokhorov's net worth -- $13.5 billion, according to Forbes. Also consider: In May 2010, Prokhorov paid $223 million to acquire 80 percent of the team and 45 percent of Barclays Center.

The reason the Nets will have to pay so much in luxury taxes is that, starting in 2013-14, teams will no longer be paying one dollar for every dollar they're over the tax level. Instead, an incremental system will be implemented, with rates increasing based on how much a team exceeds the tax.

(For a detailed explanation, please visit ESPN salary-cap guru Larry Coon's blog and scroll down to item 21.)

According to ESPN.com's Marc Stein, the projected salary cap is $58.5 million with a luxury-tax threshold at $71.6 million. That projection is not binding until a July audit is performed.

Money collected in luxury taxes is either distributed to teams or used for league purposes.

The New York Yankees, who under late owner George Steinbrenner began to spend like crazy in the early 2000s, have a payroll of $203 million this season. The Yankees paid out an MLB-record $26.9 million in luxury taxes in 2008.

But the Yankees are adamant about not wanting to pay the luxury tax going forward, which is why they're prepared to not spend more than $189 million in 2014.

Prokhorov: Kidd has the fire in the belly

June, 12, 2013
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The Brooklyn Nets made their hiring of Jason Kidd as the next head coach official in a news release Wednesday night.

Here are some quotes from members of the organization on the news via a team statement:

"On behalf of the Nets organization, I am very pleased to welcome Jason Kidd as the head coach of the Brooklyn Nets," GM Billy King said. "Jason is a proven winner and leader with an incredible wealth of basketball knowledge and experience. This will be a natural transition for him to move into the role of head coach, as he embodies the tough, smart and team-first mentality that we are trying to establish in Brooklyn."

"Jason Kidd has a long and legendary history with the Nets and with the city of New York," owner Mikhail Prokhorov said. "He has the fire in the belly we need, and has achieved as a player everything the Brooklyn Nets are striving to achieve. We believe he will lead us there. Welcome home, Jason."

"This is a tremendous opportunity to be named head coach of the Brooklyn Nets, and it's a role I have been studying for over the course of my playing days," Kidd said. "Championship teams are built on being prepared, playing unselfishly and being held accountable, and that's how I expect to coach this basketball team. I am truly excited about this next phase of my basketball career."

Prokhorov: We need one more good player

April, 22, 2013
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The Brooklyn Nets may not be one of the best teams in the NBA just yet, but owner Mikhail Prokhorov thinks they can get there if two things happen.

Prokhorov
Prokhorov
"One more good player, and we need time to make a really strong team," Prokhorov told Bloomberg Television during an interview in Moscow last Friday.

Getting another good player, however, will be challenging because the Nets are well over the salary cap. After this season, their best chance of doing so will likely be trying to package the $12 million expiring contract of Kris Humphries, a young player on a cheap deal like MarShon Brooks and future draft picks.

When asked about Prokhorov's comments, Nets interim coach P.J. Carlesimo joked: "You think I would disagree with Mr. Prokhorov? That is an astute statement.

"Having said that, I love the 15 players that we have, and next year -- [NBA PR man] Tim [Frank] is it all right to go with that? -- the NBA is expanding to 16, so it won't impact any of the guys currently on the roster," Carlesimo continued, jokingly. "So Mikhail's right and I love all of our players now."

Prokhorov, who set a goal of winning a championship within five years after he gained control of the organization in 2010, believes his team has a chance to take the title this season.

"If we have a great team spirit, great passion, we can beat anyone in the league," Prokhorov said. "We are not underdogs, that's for sure."

P.J. jokes: I'd make me coach for life

April, 19, 2013
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EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Brooklyn Nets interim coach P.J. Carlesimo went 35-19 in the regular season after taking over for Avery Johnson and his players seem to enjoy playing for him.

But despite all of that, Carlesimo said he has “no idea” what he needs to do in the playoffs to keep the position on a permanent basis next year -- and perhaps years to come.

Asked if he thinks he’s already done enough to merit a full-time gig, Carlesimo responded, “That’s not my call. That’s [owner Mikhail] Prokhorov’s call.”

Prokhorov said at the beginning of the season that a successful season for the Nets in their first year in Brooklyn would be defined by a trip to the Eastern Conference Finals.

Prokhorov will be in attendance on Saturday night for Game 1 of his team’s first-round series against the Chicago Bulls, his PR person confirmed.

Does Carlesimo expect to have any talks with the Russian billionaire?

“I don’t anticipate any,” Carlesimo said. “I haven’t anticipated any since the first meeting the first day. It was just do the job, do what you think is best and we’ll talk when it’s all over. So hopefully we’re not going to talk for a long time.”

Carlesimo joked that if he were Prokhorov, “I would give me a lifetime contract and I would pay a lot of money, but he can do whatever he wants. But if it was my team, that’s what I would do.”

Sources have told ESPNNewYork.com and ESPN.com’s Marc Stein that Carlesimo does have a chance at retaining the job, depending on how the Nets do in the playoffs.

Still, with names like Phil Jackson and Jeff Van Gundy potentially on the market, coaching insiders believe Prokhorov will pursue them given his desire to make a splashy hire.

P.J. appreciates Prokhorov’s spending

March, 11, 2013
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PHILADELPHIA -- Brooklyn Nets interim coach P.J. Carlesimo appreciates owner Mikhail Prokhorov’s willingness to spend on his roster.

Carlesimo would also appreciate a new deal at season’s end.

"You couldn’t overstate it," Carlesimo said when asked about Prokhorov spending a projected $12.8 million in luxury taxes. "That’s one of the best things an owner can do -- giving a coach a long-term contract is more important -- but other than that, when you’ve got an owner that’s willing to spend money and not pay lip services ... All the owners go 'We want to win a championship,' When you’ve got someone that’s committed to winning and is willing to spend funds to do it, give Billy (King) and Bobby (Marks) the resources, that’s fantastic."

Carlesimo is 23-12 since taking over for Avery Johnson.

Carlesimo will almost certainly be retained through the rest of this season, but his long-term status with the team likely hinges on how the Nets perform in the playoffs and what coaches are available in the offseason.

The Nets are projected to be $45 million over the luxury tax next season, when the penalty jumps up to $1.50 on every dollar over the cap.

Prokhorov is 69th on Forbes list

March, 5, 2013
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Brooklyn Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov is tied with three others as the 69th-richest person in the world with a net worth of $13 billion, according to a Forbes Magazine list. Last year, Prokhorov ranked 58th.

Prokhorov, 47, is the second-wealthiest owner in the NBA behind Paul Allen of the Portland Trail Blazers (tied 53rd, $15 billion).

Prokhorov purchased the Nets for $200 million three years ago, and moved the team from New Jersey to the $1 billion Barclays Center prior to the start of the 2012-13 season.

When Prokhorov comes into New York to watch the Nets, he typically stays at the 52nd-floor penthouse suite atop the Four Seasons hotel in midtown Manhattan, which runs for $35,000 a night and has nine rooms, according to Forbes.

Prokhorov has political aspirations: He ran for president of his native Russia -- and lost -- in 2012.

"I have handed off all of my active business assets to my partners to manage," he told Forbes for this month's cover story, "so that 100 percent of my time is devoted to politics."

Prokhorov called the Nets his "passion project."

Updated: Why Nets should get Smith

February, 21, 2013
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Brooklyn Nets GM Billy King said there’s only a 10 percent chance that he’ll make a deal by Thursday’s 3 p.m. ET trade deadline. But Atlanta Hawks power forward Josh Smith, who sources have told ESPN.com is Brooklyn’s top target, would be a nice pickup. Here’s why:

1. He’s good

As of Thursday, Smith is averaging 17.2 points, 8.6 rebounds, 4.2 assists, 2.1 blocks and 1.2 steals per game. He is shooting 45.9 percent from the field and 34.2 percent from 3-point range. Plus, he’s just 27 years old.

A quick scouting report from former ESPN Insider (now Memphis Grizzlies executive) John Hollinger:

• High-flying lefty with underrated ballhandling skills. A terror in open court.
• Mediocre shooter who forces long set shots. Good left-block post player.
• Great shot-blocker and solid pick-and-roll defender. Makes mental lapses.

2. He’s better than what they have

The Nets currently employ a power forward rotation of Reggie Evans and Kris Humphries. Evans, who has excelled since moving into the starting lineup, is more suited for a bench role where he plays 10-15 minutes per game, while Humphries is having a horrible season. Evans may be a great rebounder, but he’s a terrible offensive player and clogs up the floor, while Humphries has seemingly lost all of his aggressiveness and become a non-factor. Neither of them is a great defender.

Ask scouts and executives, they’ll tell you Brooklyn’s best lineup right now has Gerald Wallace -- not Evans or Humphries -- at the four spot.

3. He’s not going to cost much -- just money

The Hawks seem intent on getting something in return for Smith ($13.2 million in final year of his contract) rather than letting him walk as a free agent at the end of the season. The Nets can offer a package that includes Humphries, MarShon Brooks, their first-round pick/Eurostash Bojan Bogdanovic. Surely the Nets would want to be certain they can lock up Smith long-term if they were to make a deal.

Asking if Smith, who has never made the All-Star team, is a max player is like asking if Joe Johnson and Gerald Wallace are worth $130 million combined. Probably not, but Brooklyn’s owner is a billionaire and wants to win. Luxury tax penalties weren’t an issue in the offseason, and they likely wouldn’t be an impediment to signing Smith to a fat contract.

4. He makes them better

A starting lineup of Deron Williams, Johnson, Wallace, Smith and Brook Lopez is better than one that features D-Will, Iso Joe, Crash, Evans and Lopez. Maybe it never puts them over the top since it doesn’t include LeBron James or Kevin Durant, but perhaps it makes them the second-best team in the East and they get to the conference finals. For this recently woebegone franchise, that wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world, would it?

1,000,000th guest gets free tickets

February, 1, 2013
2/01/13
8:44
PM ET
Allison Barlow was just one of a million.

But she happened to be exactly one million -- which allowed her to win a cool prize.

For being the 1,000,000th guest at Barclays Center, Barlow, a resident of Park Slope, will receive two tickets for all events at the $1 billion arena for a year.

When Barlow entered the arena, she was greeted by Barclays Center majority owner/developer Bruce Ratner and Nets CEO Brett Yormark.

She was later honored by Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov in an on-court ceremony during the first quarter.

Friday night’s game marked the 86th ticketed event at Barclays Center, which opened 126 days ago on Sept. 28, 2012.

SPONSORED HEADLINES

TEAM LEADERS

POINTS
Brook Lopez
PTS AST STL MIN
20.7 0.9 0.5 31.4
OTHER LEADERS
ReboundsK. Garnett 6.6
AssistsD. Williams 6.1
StealsD. Williams 1.5
BlocksB. Lopez 1.8