With Russia entering a massive conflict with the West, we were curious where our own favorite Russian oligarch, Brooklyn Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov, stood on the Ukraine.... MORE →
In one sentence, Mikhail Prokhorov threw his full support behind his current coach, while hinting at the issues that befell his last one.
"What is important (is) that (coach) Jason Kidd, he is becoming more and more comfortable, and what is important is that he has the support of the players," the Brooklyn Nets owner said to reporters at the O2 Arena in London before his Brooklyn Nets defeated the Atlanta Hawks, 127-110. It was Prokhorov's first meeting with the media in months.
Prokhorov supported Kidd when asked to contrast last season's tumultuous winter with this one. The Nets fired Avery Johnson after a 14-14 start, but decided to keep Kidd on despite a worse start from a team with higher expectations.
After letting Johnson go on December 27th, 2012, Nets general manager Billy King admitted that he'd noticed Johnson had lost his grip with the team.
He admitted he wasn't happy with the team at the beginning of the season, putting his own spin on Kidd's oft-used "it's a process" turn of phrase.
"Frankly, I wasn't jumping over the moon," Prokhorov said of his team's 10-21 start. "But I'm realistic in sport, it's a procedure, and now team is playing much better. So we're on the right way."
Prokhorov added that he still thinks the team has a shot at a championship, if "stars align."
Though it's not the full interview, watch some snippets broadcast by YES Network above.
It took New York Knicks owner James Dolan about seven years to answer a question from a basketball reporter since shutting the beats out in 2007, but now it seems like he's gotten the hang of it. Dolan sat down with Mike Vaccaro of the New York Post to talk about his struggling Knicks, who have gotten out to the same 3-8 start.
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Prokhorov, in conjunction with Russian fertilizer tycoon Dmitry Mazepin, is picking up nearly 22 percent of the potash fertilizer company Uralkali from Suleyman Kerimov.
The deal comes shortly after Uralkali's chief executive Vladislav Baumgertner was arrested in Belarus, and not allowed to communicate with his Russian lawyer.
More on the deal from CNBC here.
Brooklyn Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov sits down with Charlie Rose of 60 Minutes, both at CBS Studios and in Prokhorov's box at Barclays Center, to talk Nets, head coach Jason Kidd, and the future of Russian politics, noting that political operations are his primary day-to-day work. He also shares his thoughts on Edward Snowden, and how Snowden is representative of the sharp divide in foreign relations between Russia and the United States.
Prokhorov, when asked about his promise to punish himself by getting married within five years of buying the Nets if the Nets don't win a championship, told Rose the promise was "a joke," but quickly backed off, saying "Just for the time being, I'm not looking for the wife." Call it confidence in his team.
The YES Network's Sarah Kustok's fascinating interview with Michael Prokhorov had interesting bits:
The idea for a five year plan for the Nets was inspired by Vladimir Lenin's Five Year Plans in the early days of the Soviet Union. He then noted, wryly, that he hoped and expected that the Brooklyn version would be more successful.
He was particularly proud to have Andrei Kirilenko on the team, remembering as a young pup in Moscow.
His excitement about Jason Kidd as head coach? "He's very tough with a great desire to win" -- one of those guys who might have nine broken fingers and still play to win.
His reaction when presented with the Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett trade. "Hell yes."
Did he have any qualms about paying the luxury tax triggered by those trades? A mischievous smile and then, "Hell no."
Xenophobia rears its ugly head, but comes up empty.
Under pressure from at least one rival owner, the NBA launched an investigation into the contract between free agent forward Andrei Kirilenko and the Brooklyn Nets, finding no evidence of rule-breaking, according to Fred Kerber of the New York Post.
Kirilenko opted out of the final year of his contract with Minnesota, worth $10 million, and signed a two-year deal worth $6.4 million with the Brooklyn Nets. Though it's never stated, the implication is that Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov, who is Russian, had a backdoor deal with the Russian Kirilenko, circumventing the NBA's collective bargaining agreement to pay Kirilenko more money under the table through illicit means.
“Old stereotypes, they’re very hard to beat and to break,” Prokhorov said of the rumors after surprising reporters and fans alike at a press conference in July.
The truth, as I see it: Kirilenko thought he'd make more on the open market, but signed the contract with Brooklyn after other offers dried up or never materialized.
Kirilenko's loss is Brooklyn's gain, not that money matters much to Kirilenko: after signing a deal with CSKA Moscow (a team Prokhorov owned from 1997-2007) in 2011, Kirilenko vowed to donate his entire salary to charity.
Fred Kerber, New York Post -- Nets probed, cleared by NBA in Kirilenko signing
If you are a fan of either the New York Knicks or the Brooklyn Nets, you should know one thing: the two teams don't like each other. As has been the case ever since Mikhail Prokhorov purchased the New Jersey Nets back in 2010, the hatred between the crosstown rivals extends right up to the ownership level.
Play nice, guys.
That essentially was the directive given to owners James Dolan of the Knicks and Mikhail Prokhorov of the Nets this past season during a meeting orchestrated by NBA Commissioner David Stern, who wanted to snuff any lingering tension between the two and prevent a full-blown feud, multiple league sources told The Post.
Sources also tell The Post that the meeting was "friendly and cordial" and was held in order to prevent "a wave of spitballs going back and forth over the Brooklyn and Manhattan Bridges."
With the two sides set to share the NBA All-star festivities in 2015, commissioner David Stern apparently felt that enough was enough and though the two sides are rivals on the court, they are business partners off it and need to exist as such.
According to The Post, spokesmen for both the Knicks and the Nets declined comment on the apparent meeting.
As for Prokhorov's view?
One source maintained Prokhorov stokes the rivalry fires because he believes the feud “is great for both teams” and insisted it is “not at all personal” against Dolan, the Garden chairman and Cablevision CEO.
And of course, there's always this.
Looking at Brooklyn Nets news and notes from around the web:
- The Nets officially released their preseason schedule a couple of weeks ago, but I hadn't seen it until this morning. One team they'll play twice is none other than the Boston Celtics: once home, once away. My guess? Don't expect Pierce or Kevin Garnett to make the trek up to Boston for a preseason game. That's a moment they'll save for the regular season.
- If there's anyone who knows what Paul Pierce feels like right now, it's former Celtics great Robert Parish, who spent a full 14 seasons with the Boston club before ending his career with Charlotte and Chicago for three seasons. What Parish thinks? It's going to be "awkward."
- J.R. Smith: The Knicks are still the marquee team in New York.
- NBA Deputy Commissioner/soon-to-be Commissioner Adam Silver seems upset that the NBA has a system that allows Mikhail Prokhorov to pay $87 million more than he has to. Uh-huh.
- Remember when Mikhail Prokhorov said he didn't own a cell phone? Now Prokhorov's company Onexim is in talks to buy a majority share of Russian mobile phone retailer Svyaznoy. Brooklyn really does change people.
- It's been less than a month and Celtics fans are already wondering if they should #TradeMarShon.
Russian billionaire playboy oligarch/Brooklyn Nets owner/heli-skiier/rapper/politician Mikhail Prokhorov received permission from the NBA to relocate the Nets ownership vehicle to Russia, a move that will allow him to comply with a new Russian law that bans some Russian officials from owning assets abroad. Prokhorov ran for Russian President while owner of the Nets in 2012 -- prior to the new laws regarding foreign assets -- losing to current Russian President Vladimir Putin by a wide margin.
"I received permission from the NBA to transfer the company that owns the Brooklyn Nets to a Russian company," Prokhorov said at the Thursday press conference. The Nets owner also said he received permission to move the ownership structure of Barclays Center to Russia. Neither move should have a significant impact on the operations of the Nets or arena.
Even with the permission, Prokhorov will not run for Mayor of Moscow as previously planned. At a June 13th press conference -- the same day the Nets announced Jason Kidd would be their new head coach -- Prokhorov said his Civil Platform party "will not participate in the procedure of prolonging the current mayor's license."
Prokhorov had planned to run for mayor in Fall of 2015, when current mayor Serei Sobyanin's term runs out. But Sobyanin announced last week that he is stepping down, triggering a special September election that Sobyanin will run in himself. The move is seen as a ploy by Sobyanin to extend his time in office by limiting his opponents' chance to campaign before the elections.
Read More: Transitions Online - - Prokhorov to Sit Out Moscow Mayoral Race
Read More: The Wall Street Journal, Paul Sonne - - The Nets Are About To 'Move' To Russia
The NBA has made great strides overseas in the past decade, hosting preseason and regular season games in London and China. The then-New Jersey Nets even traveled to Russia for a pre-training camp trip in October of 2010. Now, Nets Russian owner Mikhail Prokhorov wants to see more of the NBA in Russia, specifically for professional games.
“We would actually love to see some regular-season games played in Russia, as we have currently in London,” Prokhorov said by e-mail to Bloomberg's Jake Rudnitsky. “That would be my dream.”
Prokhorov has said previously that he wants the Brooklyn Nets to be a global brand.
The Nets played two games in London in 2011-12 against the Toronto Raptors, both considered home games.
The NBA hopes that the presence of Prokhorov, plus three Russian-born players (Minnesota Timberwolves forward Andrei Kirilenko, Timberwolves guard Alexey Shved, and Denver Nuggets center Tiomofey Mozgov) will help expedite the process of brand-building in Russia.
From Rudnitsky's report:
The Clippers had to play in a decrepit Soviet-era arena in Moscow in 2006 because of a lack of modern facilities. State-owned VTB Group, Russia’s second-largest lender, is building a 54 billion ruble ($1.7 billion) multi-use complex in Moscow that will include a 12,500-seat basketball stadium, said Andrei Peregoudov, who heads the project.
“There are plenty of ways to promote the league in Russia and there is certainly an enthusiastic audience to be won over here,” Prokhorov said. “The league will need to invest time and money if it expects results, but I fully believe it will be worth it.”
It sounds like there's a serious push to make Russia a viable option for professional teams to play. If any team spearheads the operation, it's going to be the Nets, thanks to Prokhorov. You'd have to imagine that Brooklyn will push for the games to be "away" games for the Nets -- there's a lot of incentive to have as many events at Barclays Center as possible, and losing two home games won't go over well with Barclays staff.