Billy King: Mikhail Prokhorov isn’t selling Nets

Billy King (AP)
Billy King (AP)
Billy King (AP)

It looks like the Nets will stay in Mikhail Prokhorov’s control, for now.

Recent reports have indicated that the Nets have entered discussions with the Guggenheim Partners, who own the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Brooklyn Dodgers trademark, about a “combination of assets” that would potentially allow the Nets to use the Dodgers trademark.

But Nets GM Billy King, who would not comment on the nature of the discussions, flatly said that Prokhorov would not relinquish control of the team. “He’s not selling,” King said. That does not mean that the Nets couldn’t partner with Guggenheim and use the trademarks, but any partnership would presumably still be under Prokhorov’s control.

Cleveland Cavaliers superstar LeBron James specifically mentioned Prokhorov in some comments about the league’s rising value, saying that the players will not accept the idea that the league is losing money on the heels of a $24 billion TV deal and the recent Los Angeles Clippers sale at $2 billion:

“The whole thing that went on with the last negotiation process was the owners was telling us that they were losing money. There’s no way they can sit in front of us and tell us that right now after we continue to see teams selling for billions of dollars, being purchased for $200 million, [selling] for 550 [million], 750 [million], $2 billion,” James said. “And now [Mikhail] Prokhorov is possibly selling his majority stake in the Nets for over a billion. So, that will not fly with us this time.”

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King downplayed James’s comments. “Our players on our team know, and there’s no free agency going on, so I don’t care what LeBron feels about us as an organization at this point in time,” King said. “Just because LeBron reads what is written or speculated, it doesn’t have any impact.”

King added that Prokhorov has full commitment to his original goal, which is to bring a championship to Brooklyn, even though the team cut costs from last year’s record-setting spending. The Nets still have the highest payroll in the league. “I think we’re spending pretty good right now,” King said Tuesday night. “Just because it’s less than last year — last year the storyline was record levels. I don’t think anything’s changed in his mindset. Like I said before we made some decisions. He hasn’t wavered in pursuit of what he wants.”

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