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January 17, 2011

Nets’ pitch to ’Melo: swing and miss?

Yahoo! Sports
by Adrian Wojnarowski

Mikhail Prokhorov is exactly halfway into his first season as Nets owner, and already, the bloom is off the oligarch.

The New Jersey Nets had strutted around so full of themselves: big talk, blustery billboards and puffed-up promises. Even so, no one bought into the myth of Mikhail Prokhorov the way they did within that forlorn franchise. The Nets treat the Russian owner like some deity, like a Euro Mark Cuban, when he’s little more than an absentee landlord cutting big checks and delivering delusional proclamations of championship parades inside of five seasons.

If the Nets truly need to sell Carmelo Anthony on accepting the trade and signing a contract extension, they’re a bigger lost cause than they’ve ever been. The Nets can’t let Prokhorov and Jay-Z get on a jet and go sell that now because this process has already cost them too much credibility – and because billionaires aren’t supposed to beg. Make no mistake: The manufactured aura of this ownership dream team will be obliterated with a ’Melo rejection.

The Nets’ suits need to sell sponsorships and fill a new arena in 2012 for a franchise that barely has a fan base in Jersey – never mind one that resonates across the Hudson River.

Yes, everyone senses desperation with these Nets – the Nuggets, ’Melo’s agents – and that’s for good reason. They’re selling and selling, but no one’s been buying the big, mysterious Russian billionaire who actually isn’t such a mystery after all. He doesn’t know the NBA. He doesn’t like the Internet because he says there’s too much information. He barely had any thoughts about who to hire or why. And he’s never around anyway.

Through it all this summer, New Jersey ran TV ads promoting salary-cap space. The Nets thrust bigger-than-life murals of ownership on the sides of skyscrapers and even shadowed Madison Square Garden with that Prokhorov/Jay-Z “Blueprint for Success” monstrosity. They taunted the Knicks, and promptly crumbled back to the bottom of the Eastern Conference.

All of the bravado was wildly entertaining, and all of it completely without substance. Blueprint? There’s no blueprint, just a serious of shots in the dark.


NoLandGrab: Wow, Brooklyn's getting all this, and it only cost we taxpayers a couple billion dollars? What a deal.

Related coverage...

NetsDaily, Woj: Prokhorov, Nets In Danger of Becoming Jokes If He Doesn't Return to New Jersey with 'Melo in Tow

Moreover, [Wojnarowski] says the Nets just keep giving in their trade talks. Now, they've agreed to add three first round picks (including two of their own) and Damion James to the list of Denver's settled demands, having already agreed to give up Derrick Favors, Devin Harris, Anthony Morrow, etc., etc. " "The Nets are behaving in a most desperate way and trying too hard to validate Prokhorov’s relevance in the sport. Anthony treats the Nets like the unattractive girl he refuses to tell his friends he’s seeing on the side."

Meanwhile, other writers in other precincts tell similar tales of desperation on all sides of the 'Melo Drama.

NLG: Can't be long now before NetsDaily commenters start a movement to bring back the second-worst owner in sports.

Atlantic Yards Report, As Nets continue pursuit of Carmelo Anthony, the Prokhorov backlash

Posted by eric at January 17, 2011 9:49 PM