SBD/January 20, 2011/Franchises

Prokhorov Takes Nets Out Of Running For Carmelo Anthony

Prokhorov unhappy with way negotiations with Anthony went down
Nets Owner Mikhail Prokhorov yesterday "made his boldest move" since becoming owner when he "removed the Nets" from trade talks concerning Nuggets F Carmelo Anthony, according to Al Iannazzone of the Bergen RECORD. Prokhorov said that he "had to take a stand, and for the mental health of the team he canceled a sit-down with Anthony that was scheduled for today in Denver." Prokhorov: "I am not happy with the way the deal has gone until now. It has taken too long. It has been played out in public. ... I think the management of the team did a great job, but there comes a time when the price is simply too expensive." Iannazzone notes Nets officials "had no idea Prokhorov would make this announcement." The "stunning decision could cost the franchise a shot at being a playoff contender sooner than later" (Bergen RECORD, 1/20).

A DIFFERENT MIKHAIL
: In N.Y., Mitch Lawrence writes, "This was a very different Mikhail Prokhorov talking, not the Mikhail Prokhorov that Nets fans had come to know." Fans previously "had heard only from Prokhorov, the Russian comic, since he took over the team last June," but last night they "heard from Prokhorov the driven tycoon who is worth almost" $10B (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 1/20). CBSSPORTS.com's Ken Berger wrote after "negotiating hijinks dragged on pointlessly for months," it took Prokhorov only "a few hours to figure out what had to be done." Berger: "He killed this fantasy of Carmelo Anthony coming to Newark and then leading some basketball renaissance in Brooklyn in 2012 -- killed it with the blunt intonations and icy glare of a man with too many commas in his net worth to be played like a fool" (CBSSPORTS.com, 1/19). In N.Y., George Willis writes Prokhorov "proved he carries an iron fist and isn't afraid to make a call that might upset his fan base and hurt his team's potential for immediate success." Willis: "Bravo for him" (N.Y. POST, 1/20). In Newark, Dave D'Alessandro writes Prokhorov "decided to salvage his team's pride, all while admitting he was kept as clueless as an owner can be" during the trade talks (Newark STAR-LEDGER, 1/20).

STILL NEEDING A STAR ATTRACTION: Bloomberg TV’s Michele Steele noted the Nets dropping their pursuit of Anthony is “not likely to drive up the Nets' league-low attendance, where secondary ticket prices average just $36 a seat, third cheapest in the NBA." Steele: "In a star-driven league, the Nets have none, just the promise of a move to a new arena in Brooklyn in 2012.” Leverage Senior VP/Sponsorship Sales Kevin McIntyre indicated that the team “desperately needs a superstar before it can sign more blue-chip domestic sponsors, who are waiting for a winning product” (Bloomberg TV, 1/20).
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