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July 29, 2010

Prokhorov on cover of Russian Forbes, spinning team purchase; in Letters page of USA Today, saluting LeBron James

Atlantic Yards Report

The Russian billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov, principal owner of the New Jersey Nets, is on the cover of Forbes Russia’s August “Stars and Money ” issue, which contains a subtitle: “Mikhail Prokhorov and American Basketball: Who Will Be the Winner?”

Note that Prokhorov claims he bought the Nets for $200 million, which is inaccurate, as it refers only to the direct cash payment. As summarized by Sports Business Journal via NetsDaily in March:

As reported, Prokhorov's Onexim Group has agreed to put down $200 million in cash; assume about $180 million in franchise debt from Forest City Enterprises, Bruce Ratner's parent company; eat $60 million in costs--including losses--sustained while the team remains in New Jersey; and purchase up to $106 million in junk bonds needed to finance Barclays Center infrastructure, for a total of around $550 million.

In the end, Prokhorov put less money down, offering a $75.8 million loan rather than, as reported, buying $106 million in taxable bonds.
...

In USA Today

Prokhorov is wobbly enough in English basketball lingo to have described draft pick Derrick Favors as a "powerful forward" (rather than "power forward"), but that hasn't stopped him--or his handlers--from working the Prokhorov message in print.

Maybe it's an effort to position the Nets to snag future free agents, or maybe it's just a way to keep his name in the paper. After all, one of the Nets' biggest selling points remains its owner.

From USA Today, Roundup: NBA team owner backs LeBron James' decision:

The players are signed, the "Decision" is made, but the passions around this year's extraordinary class of NBA free agents refuses to die down. What surprises me is the amount of negative commentary directed at the three top free agents (especially LeBron James) who decided to play on the same team and to create a great franchise together. Of course, any club owner dreams of having those players, including me, but all questions of how the announcements were made aside, I respect their choice, and no one has the right to judge them.

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NoLandGrab: Prokhorov's POV on James is quite magnanimous, but when one of your team's "biggest selling points remains its owner," your team's in trouble.

Posted by eric at July 29, 2010 10:18 AM