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March 5, 2009

Brooklyn or bust

The Daily Blahg [NY Daily News]
by Filip Bondy

Nets' management really, really hates it when anybody asks about Newark, because Bruce Ratner remains determined to get his team to Brooklyn in two years. Ratner will never move the team to Newark. However, if the Atlantic Yards project stalls much longer, he may be forced to sell the franchise because of huge losses.

This makes the Nets' announcement so odd about playing two preseason games this fall at the Rock. Barry Baum, a spokesman for the team, says the commitment was debated among executives for this precise reason, that they feared it would start rumors about a possible move there. But money is money, and the Nets just couldn't sell preseason tickets at the Meadowlands.

A very specific report has been circulating around the team that Ray Chambers and Lewis Katz are preparing to invest $150 million with Ratner, as part of a contingency deal. If he can get the Brooklyn arena done in two years, fine. Otherwise, Chambers and Katz would purchase the team and move it to Newark.

But again, the Nets strongly deny such an agreement. They continue to fight off a bunch of legal challenges to their Brooklyn project. "We've won 22 of 23 cases and we'll win the last one," Baum says.

He sounds certain. Two years from now, Baum will either look like a truthsaying visionary or a naive flack.

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NoLandGrab: This is the first we've heard of a possible deal with former Nets' owners Chambers and Katz, and the first time we've actually heard a Forest City executive admit that they haven't won every court battle.

Posted by eric at March 5, 2009 3:14 PM