Mikhail Prokhorov is here to stay, kind of.
Recently, Business Insider reported that the 6’9″ Russian billionaire and majority owner of the Brookyln Nets had considered selling his stake in the team, but couldn’t find a buyer at his asking price of $1.7 billion. The report added that the market was dry for Prokhorov’s 80 percent stake in the arena even if he dropped his asking price to $1.2 billion.
Prokhorov did not deny he’d listened to offers, but said he’d only entertain offers for minority stakes, for which he’d gotten “a lot” of proposals. “My position is that I will not give up control of the team,” Prokhorov said. “But you know, I am quite happy when somebody sending me a nice offer without taking my control of team. I think, for the time being, nothing is imminent, but still I think it’s not bad just to listen.”
Prokhorov deflected questions about minority owner Bruce Ratner, who’s also reportedly hoping to cash out, and said he’d still attempt to attend about ten home games on the season.
After news that a record-setting agreement between the NBA and ESPN, netting the league close to $25 billion over the nine years of the agreement, the market for an NBA team is hitting new peaks. Los Angeles Clippers recently sold in full to Steve Ballmer for a flat $2 billion. The Nets, armed with a rusty new arena in an enormous, culturally rich market, could break that figure in theory.
“For the last few months, the market cap of NBA teams have skyrocketed,” Prokhorov said. “That’s why I think for any businessman in connection with some proposal, it’s the great opportunity.”
The Nets lost $144 million in basketball-related operations, which Prokhorov said was “not a big deal. … It’s just a day to day routine. Nothing special.”
Upon purchasing the team in 2010, Prokhorov joked that he expected to win a championship within five years, or he would punish himself by ending his bachelorhood and getting married. Even with championship dreams looking like a longshot, Prokhorov won’t back down.
“I haven’t searched for a new wife, I stay committed to the championship,” he confirmed. “And, by the way, we have lost George Clooney. I think that’s enough for this year.”