UPDATE: The Nets released a statement from Irina Pavlova, President of ONEXIM Sports and Entertainment, following the report:
Nets ownership has said from day one that the main goal was putting together a championship caliber team, and that no effort would be spared to this end. So, it should come as no surprise to anyone that significant investments have been made in the roster and in upgrading basketball operations on all fronts. We are certain that the team will become profitable in time, as planned.
Well, this is a giant wrinkle: the basketball side of the Brooklyn Nets lost $144 million last season, $131 million more than the second-worst Washington Wizards, according to a report obtained by Zach Lowe of Grantland.
From the report:
It’s important to note the figures here stem from basketball activities only, and do not appear to include benefits the Nets and Prokhorov get from their ownership stake in the Barclays Center. And Prokhorov, of course, is heli-skiing levels of rich. But taking a $144 million bath when the rest of the league is swimming in profits does not sit well.
This is a bit of an uneasy time in Brooklyn. The roster King built drove those losses, but ownership’s desire to win right away upon the team’s move to Brooklyn drove those roster-building decisions. The team is tossing away more than $1 million every year on Frank, and it’s unclear why the front office signed Frank to a six-year contract with escalating year-over-year salaries — a longer deal than either Kidd or King have.
Lowe’s report also includes a mention of the rift between Billy King and Jason Kidd, which started in December:
But multiple sources insist the maneuvering started during the fraught months of December and January, and that Kidd did not open the game by asking for the top front-office job. Kidd during that period approached ownership with concerns about King’s job performance, sources say — King’s commitment, leadership, and vision for the future. Kidd suggested the organization might hire an outsider for a front-office job above King, sources say. Kidd even wondered if ownership had a basketball guy in Russia who might come to Brooklyn and take on a more activist role above King.
Kidd did not pitch himself for the job — not at first, anyway. Those initial discussions went nowhere, though not everyone involved agrees on the timing and tenor of those talks. King is well liked in Brooklyn, and has followed ownership edicts in dealing away just about every future asset possible to win immediately. The Bucks sought permission to talk to Kidd earlier this month, presumably about their head coaching job, and when the Nets were slow to respond, Kidd and his team began agitating for Kidd himself to assume the double perch, sources say.
King is well-liked within the Nets organization, and he’s someone that’s followed ownership’s plan to sell off the future to win in the present. It didn’t work, and now the Nets are $144 million in the red on the basketball side of things.
The rest of the report is rich with information about the Nets’ evolution and coaching search. Read below.