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LONDON -- Brooklyn Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov remains convinced that his expensive investment in the NBA remains money well spent in the short and long term. And the Russian has insisted his infrequent appearances in New York should not be confused with a lack of interest in the franchise he purchased in 2011.
Prokhorov attended only his second Nets game of the season Thursday when he arrived at the O2 Arena in London for their meeting with the Atlanta Hawks. It has been a troubled time in his absence, as the team with the highest budget in the league stumbled to a 5-14 start under rookie coach Jason Kidd.
|Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov is sticking with his win-now philosophy.|
Never, Prokhorov confirmed, did he consider pushing the panic button and firing general manager Billy King or any other front-line staff.
"I'm realistic in sports," he said. "We have a lot of new players. We have unfortunately a lot of injuries, so it's not an excuse. But what, for me, is important is what was atmosphere of the team. It was positive, it was full support for Jason Kidd. That means, like, we need to wait."
Even an ocean and a continent away, Prokhorov has kept watch on the proceedings in Brooklyn while relying on longtime adviser Sergey Kushchenko to oversee day-to-day management on his behalf.
It isn't like the old days, Prokhorov joked, when he'd have to wait for the game videos to arrive by carrier pigeon to make his own evaluations.
"Frankly speaking, there's a lot of criticism that I am not in Brooklyn," he said. "But, I just have a question for you: Do you really think you need to be sitting in the arena to see a game?
"My friends, we are living in the 21st century. And, in spite of the fact I have no computer, I still have a subscription for the NBA games, and for me, it's like enough to even have a look on the stats so you can understand what is going on."
Even with the season-ending injury to All-Star center Brook Lopez, the Nets look in better shape to at least reach the playoffs. But even though Prokhorov isn't ruling out the title "if the stars align," it has been a costly gamble that has not paid off.
The win-now strategy remains in place, however, with Prokhorov promising to be a more visible presence when his obligations with the Sochi Olympics, which include being the head of delegation for the Russian Biathlon Federation, are done next month.
His original mission -- to bring the title to Brooklyn within five years -- stays intact.
"Our goal, we only have one goal, the championship," he said. "So I am very committed, and I will do my best in order to reach this. I know there are a lot of rumors, a lot of discussions, and that's good for the team, and I think you can criticize me as much as you care.
"But there is only one rule, and once I think the very famous film writer William Goldman, he was asked about making a good blockbuster. And he said, 'Nobody knows nothing.'
"Why? Because you need to do your job. Collect the best people. You need just to make all the deals you like, and to invite the best people and maybe hope for luck will shine on you, and the pieces come together. But time will tell. This is the procedure for how to win a championship."