SBD/January 21, 2011/Franchises

NBA Franchise Notes: Prokhorov Starting To Build A Reputation

Prokhorov took a strong stance this week by ending Nets' pursuit of Carmelo Anthony
SI.com's Ian Thomsen wrote Nets Owner Mikhail Prokhorov is the NBA's "new-millennium version" of late Yankees Chair George Steinbrenner. Prokhorov this week put "his foot down" on the team's pursuit of Nuggets F Carmelo Anthony because "this is how it's done" in Russia. Thomsen: "Uprisings like this are made to vanish in a way that sets an intimidating example. ... I would imagine the eyes of many NBA owners lit up when they heard of Prokhorov's gambit" (SI.com, 1/20). Mavericks Owner Mark Cuban in an e-mail said, "Smart. Very smart. Smart as in making clear who is in charge and who is running the show." In N.Y., Stefan Bondy writes Prokhorov's "inexperience showed when he pressed the Nets to go so hard after a reluctant target," but he "finally recognized the desperate chase needed to end" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 1/21). L.A. Times columnist Bill Plaschke said Prokhorov "looks terrific, owner stepping out in the middle of all this turmoil and staring down a great player and saying, 'No, enough's enough. We're stopping here'" ("Around The Horn," ESPN, 1/20). The AP's Tim Dahlberg wrote in a "sport where the stars yield way too much power, he struck a rare blow for the guys who pay their salaries" (AP, 1/20).

TURNING IT AROUND: In New Orleans, John Reid reported the Hornets appear to be "on the verge of meeting their Jan. 31 attendance benchmark requirement" after drawing two consecutive crowds over 15,000 at New Orleans Arena. The Hornets "must average 14,891 for upcoming games" against the Spurs and Thunder to meet the benchmark, and team officials said that they are "anticipating good crowds for both games." Reid noted through the "efforts of the Hornets Business Council, more than $412,000 was pledged by regional businesses to purchase tickets." That helped "boost attendance for Wednesday night’s game" against the Grizzlies (New Orleans TIMES-PICAYUNE, 1/20).

GO BIG OR GO HOME: Warriors co-Owner Joe Lacob Thursday said that the "new ownership group has already agreed that, if an elite player is available, the Warriors would be willing to increase their payroll above the current luxury-tax level." Lacob noted that he "has been actively monitoring" the Carmelo Anthony situation. In San Jose, Tim Kawakami writes this is "all pretty radical stuff coming from any owner, but particularly from the Warriors owner, after the long years" of Chris Cohan's "silence and befuddlement" (SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS, 1/21).
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