Mikhail Prokhorov

Mikhail Prokhorov (AP)

Conflicting reports came out today about the current status of the Nets franchise. They were related to the possibility that Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov may be looking to sell some or all of his stake in the franchise.

NetsDaily reported that Nets brass is in talks with the Los Angeles Dodgers' ownership group, Guggenheim Sports and Entertainment Assets, about merging assets.

NetsDaily stressed that this would not affect Prokhorov's role with the team.

"The first source emphasized that Prokhorov would continue to control the team as 'governor and controlling owner of the team 'for the foreseeable future.'"

NetsDaily's reporting also indicates that Brooklyn is being valued in the discussions at $1.7 billion with the arena coming in at $1.1 billion

Wow. That's quite a lot, huh?

So that seems all good and hunky-dory. The Nets matter and they're valuable. Where's the problem with that?

Well, the ubiquitous Adrian Wojnarowski was quick to follow NetsDaily's report with a link to his article from June about a possible Nets sale and describes Brooklyn as being "on the market."

Wojnarowski also quoted anonymous NBA executives who explain that the feeling around the association is that Prokhorov is on his way out. This is in contrast to NetsDaily's description of a situation where Prokhorov would remain the controlling owner.

NetsDaily sent out a tweet afterwards emphasizing that if Prokhorov really wanted to sell his stake in the team, he could have already done so.

However, Chris Mannix of Sports Illustrated reported that the Guggenheim Sports merger talks could "evolve" into Prokhorov selling his stake completely.

Ramona Shelburne of ESPN LA, who is always in tune with everything in Los Angeles sports, reported that a Dodgers source is saying that nothing is likely to come of these talks.

Shelburne also quotes Dodgers' chairman Mark Walter who says he hasn't even seen the Nets' franchise numbers.

That is information that someone who is looking to acquire an asset as large as the Nets would probably have seen at some point.

"I am the controlling owner of the Dodgers and I have no intention of selling the Dodgers. As for the Nets, I have not seen their numbers. They are a terrific franchise. I would be happy to look at their information and any proposal they wanted to make to me --- as I would with any proposal," said Walter.

It is important to note that Walter never said that he didn't have discussions, but only that he had not seen the numbers. He did not completely close the door on the possibility.

So what is going on here?

Where there's smoke, there's usually fire. Something that the reports have in common is that each is indicating that Prokhorov is soon going to own less of the Nets.

Is Prokhorov really going to be committed to this team for the "foreseeable" future or is this just a stepping stone to completely detaching himself from the team? Will this slow separation from the team affect the way the team is managed?

We can't yet speak to that, but the prospects of a partnership with the Dodgers is exciting if only because it could finally allow the Nets to use the Dodgers' iconic Brooklyn font that hasn't graced a pro-sports team in the borough since the days of Ebbets Field.

Should Prokhorov cut ties with Brooklyn, Nets fans could do a lot worse for ownership than Dodgers brass. MLB fans will know that the Dodgers have spent heavily on their club in pursuit of a championship.

There is surely more to come, but there is a lot less certainty in the Borough of Kings than there was to start the day.

 

Paul Pierce, Doc Rivers

Pierce & Doc Rivers... reunited? (AP)

The Brooklyn Nets and Los Angeles Clippers are laying the framework for a sign-and-trade deal that would send Paul Pierce to the Clippers, according to Ohm Youngmusik and Ramona Shelburne of ESPN.
... MORE →

 

UPDATE: Marc Stein reports that the Nets are wrapping up a deal with Lionel Hollins to be their next head coach:

ESPN's Marc Stein is reporting that the Nets are "closing in" on hiring former Grizzlies coach Lionel Hollins.

Stein is also adding that the Nets and Hollins are hammering out a multi-year contract that will pay him at least $4-million annually.

In the 2012-13 season, his final with the Grizzlies, Hollins led the team to 56 wins and to the Western Conference Finals. His Grizzlies saw the playoffs in each of last three years with the team. He was let go due to "philosophical differences" between him and ownership.

In the ESPN New York article, Stein says:

Sources say the Nets wanted to move quickly in the wake of the Kidd saga and lasered in on Hollins immediately, meeting with him Monday and Tuesday.

Hollins has been a favorite of Nets officials for some time and was pursued by Brooklyn to serve as an assistant to Kidd after the in-season departure of Lawrence Frank, but the former Grizzlies coach was determined to wait for a head-coaching opportunity. Hollins was also chased hard this spring by the Houston to serve as the top aide to Rockets coach Kevin McHale in the event that he didn't land a top position.

Nets general manager Billy King, during an appearance Wednesday on ESPN Radio's "Mike & Mike," said experience would be key when making the team's next head-coaching hire.

"One, I think we're looking for experience, someone we'll build with for a long time," King said. "Someone who can develop young players, develop veterans and have a tough mindset. But someone also who has the experience who can take us to where we want to go."

On Tuesday, King praised Hollins' work in Memphis.

"If you look at track record and what he did in Memphis, they consistently got better every year," he said.

A deal with Hollins would cap a tumultuous week for the Nets.

Stay tuned.

 

Despite previously saying that the Nets probably wouldn't be picking in the first round, it looks like Billy King might have something up his sleeve...

Not sure who the target is with this, but we'll see as the draft develops.

 

Blatche (AP)

Blatche (AP)

Andray Blatche has decided to opt out of his player option worth just 1.4 million for the 2014-15 season and will become an unrestricted free agent in July. For quite some time, Blatche has indicated that he'd likely search for a long term deal following this season.

Since joining the Nets in 2012, Blatche has received amnesty payments from the Washington Wizards-- allowing him to take a smaller contract to play with a contender. Blatche will command more than the MLE on the open market following another solid season that saw him average 11.2 points and 5.3 rebounds over 22 minutes per game. If the Nets so choose, they hold Blatche's Early Bird Rights, meaning they could offer a new deal up to 25 million over 4 years.

Recent rumors have cited a mutual interest between Blatche and the New Orleans Pelicans. With the development of Mason Plumlee and Mirza Teletovic and the likely returns of Kevin Garnett and Brook Lopez, Blatche may take a deal with another team that guarantees more playing time moving forward.

 

Andrei Kirilenko (AP)

Andrei Kirilenko (AP)

Per NetsDaily, Nets officials believe that Andrei Kirilenko will not opt out of his player option-- a move that would keep him in Brooklyn for another year. The crafty role player's future was in some doubt after an injury riddled season that often placed him on the bench in key moments.

Last summer, Billy King and the Nets convinced Kirilenko to take far less than market value and sign for the mini-MLE, a 2-year deal with a player option after the first. Given his often undefined role and lack of minutes without explanation, many believed the 12-year veteran might seek greener pastures.

Kirilenko only played in 45 games this season, averaging 5 points, 3.2 rebounds and 1.6 assists over 15 minutes per game and slew of DNPs.

However, nothing is official and Kirilenko has until June 29th to decide. If he opts out, he'd become an unrestricted free agent.

 

Marcus Thornton (AP)

Marcus Thornton (AP)

ESPN's Marc Stein reports that the Nets and Cavaliers have initiated trade talks that would see Marcus Thornton swapped for Jarrett Jack.

Back in February, reports surfaced that the Nets and Cavaliers had mutual interest in swapping Jack and Jason Terry. Instead, the Nets dealt Terry and Reggie Evans to Sacramento for Marcus Thornton.

Stein writes that that Nets have become increasingly fearful of guard Shaun Livingston leaving Brooklyn for more money than they can offer. Marcus Thornton will be paid 8 million on the final year of his contract and averaged 12 points and 2.8 rebounds for the Nets over 26 games this season.

Additionally, Jarrett Jack is signed through 2016-17 at a little over 6 million but has a team option on the final year. Jack averaged 9.5 points and 4.1 assists over 28 minutes per game for Cleveland in 2013-14 in a backup role behind Kyrie Irving.

Interestingly enough, this may indicate the franchise's aims at adding two of the NBA's greatest stars in the near future. If Cleveland believes that LeBron James will opt into his final year with Miami, Thornton's expiring contract could add some necessary cap space for the Cavaliers to make a run at James next summer.

On the other end, many believe that the Nets will attempt to bring Kevin Durant to Brooklyn in 2016 when he hits unrestricted free agency. Jarrett Jack's team option in 2016 means that the Nets could effectively wipe 6 million off the books as they chase Durant.

Jack, who finished in 3rd place for last year's 6th Man of the Year Award, would likely slot in off the bench behind Deron Williams if Shaun Livingston decides to take another deal elsewhere.

UPDATE: Source in Nets organization has said that the Jack-Thornton trade is "not legitimate."

 

THE PAST AND THE FUTURE AND THE *croaks*

AP

Rumors, along with being my third-favorite Adele song, have cropped up in the last few days regarding Minnesota Timberwolves forward Kevin Love's imminent departure after zero playoff games in his first six seasons.

Love is an incredible talent: he averaged 26.5 points, 12.1 rebounds, and 4.4 assists in 36.3 minutes per game this season, numbers that haven't been reached since Kareem Abdul-Jabbar in the 1975-76 season.

Love reportedly listed his top destinations as Los Angeles and New York (shocking!), meaning that even in the ether, the Brooklyn Nets are a distant option. A few of you (okay, a lot of you) have asked me about this already. The Nets need to improve after a disappointing 44-38 season, and along with his incredible once-in-a-generation combination of rebounding and shooting, he'd fit in in Williamsburg immediately.

I know it's fun to include the Nets in nearly every trade proposal, since Billy King makes trades like most of us make breakfast, but there's one problem in that idea:... MORE →

 

Brook Lopez

How can the Nets fill the void left by Brook Lopez? (AP)

Earlier this month, the NBA granted the Brooklyn Nets the Disabled Player Exception, a one-time chance to replace Brook Lopez on their roster. Lopez went down with a season-ending foot injury on December 20th, and was examined by a league doctor to verify he'd be out for the season.

Though the CBA dictates that the Disabled Player Exception expires on March 15th, a league source says they have until March 10th to use it on a free agent, or until the trade deadline (February 20th) to use it in a trade.

So what can they do with it? Should they do anything with it? Here are their three options.

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