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September 23, 2009

Russian Oligarch Will Save Nets to Save Russian Basketball

Lack of financing for Brooklyn arena makes strange bedfellows

NBC New York
by Josh Alper

That would make him the first non-North American owner of an NBA team, something that wouldn't seem like such a big deal until you read Prokhorov's statement about his interest. It's partly a real estate deal, partly a sports deal and a whole lot of a nationalist attempt to use entry into the NBA as a way to make Russia a more powerful basketball nation. According to Prokhorov, the "qualitative conditions" of the deal are:

  • Russia would achieve a position of equality among the elites of world basketball
  • access to all modern technology and training methods with the possibility of using them in Russia
  • apprenticeships for leading Russian trainers and managers in the NBA
  • the ability to send our best students to NBA training camps.

In post-Soviet Russia, the Nets buy you!

It sounds utterly ridiculous, but the Nets are so desperate for financing that anything is possible. The big loser in this deal would clearly be Bruce Ratner, who would essentially have to give away control of his team and his real estate dream project in order to save both of them. It would be almost Shakespearean, except that it's the Nets and a widely reviled arena project and a crazy Russian billionaire whose plan hinges on the idea that access to the Nets would somehow be a benefit to basketball in Moscow.

So not Shakespeare so much as Monty Python, then.

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Develop Don't Destroy Brooklyn, Desperate Ratner Set to Make "Ridiculous" Deal With Oligarch?

Speculation fueled by Russian oligarch Mikhail Prokhorov's blog post about his offer to buy the Nets from failed basketball owner Bruce Ratner and make a loan to fund the bond Ratner needs to fund the world's most expensive arena (or whatever the scrambled deal is, we'll have to wait and see as it is likely to be announced later today) continues. Prokhorov is excited to turn the Nets into a boomtown for Russian basketball interests. Who woulda thunk it?

NoLandGrab: We suppose this is a good time to remind everyone that for Bruce Ratner, "it's 100 percent about basketball."

Posted by eric at September 23, 2009 12:21 PM