Russian Tycoon Confirms Interest in Nets

Posted on: September 22nd, 2009 by Mark Ginocchio Comments

mikhail-prokhorovIn a post on his personal blog earlier today, Russian oligarch Mikhail Prokhorov confirmed that he has made a bid to invest in a new Nets arena in Brooklyn in exchange for a stake in team ownership, Reuters is reporting.

According to the blog post, which can be found at md-prokhorov.livejournal.com, Prokhorov submitted his bid to Nets ownership this weekend.  The offer would see his Onexim Group provide a loan to ownership to help build a "substantial part" of the Barclays Arena. Onexim would then receive a controlling stake in the franchise, making them the first International owners in the NBA. Last week, it was speculated that Prokhorov could pay upwards of $700 million for the deal.

"For our Onexim group the realization of this very lucrative business project, whose participation was made possible by the world crisis (never in history have foreigners owned an NBA club), is another interesting sports development," Prokhorov wrote on his blog.

As has been recently discussed, the NBA would have to approve a Prokhorov takeover and he does have a suspicious past that could potentially damage his chances. However, it's no secret that David Stern and the NBA are dying for more opportunities to open up the sport to more international markets, and they are also avid supporters of professional basketball in Brooklyn. For Brooklyn to happen, Nets owner Bruce Ratner needs financing in place and the ground broken by the end of 2009. If some more of the legal hurdles are cleared, including a hearing at NewYork State's highest court on October 14 about the use of eminent domain for the Atlantic Yards project, Prokhorov's involvement could help facilitate the Nets in Brooklyn. While I'm sure Nets fans, New Jersey residents and Brooklyn residents have a wide-range of opinions on the prospects of the "Brooklyn Nets," it's crystal clear that the move to Brooklyn is needed in order to establish any kind of short-term stability with the current ownership group.