SBD/December 5, 2013/Franchises

Is A Dolan-Prokhorov Battle Hurting Both Knicks And Nets On The Court?

Pierce and Garnett are among aging players with big contracts in New York
The Nets and the Knicks are "among the worst teams in the NBA this year, franchises in a free fall despite their eye-popping, league-topping payrolls," and some critics "blame the one-upmanship" between Knicks Owner James Dolan and Nets Owner Mikhail Prokhorov, according to Harvey Araton of the N.Y. TIMES. Araton asks, "In trying to outdo each other, have the two owners overdone it?" Both teams have "traded away draft picks, locked themselves into punitive contracts for aging players and underachieved, shockingly so." Their big moves have "often been almost in sync, as if the teams have been clumsy dance partners stepping on each other's toes." Prokhorov and Dolan "seem to have studied the Steinbrenner playbook, paying top dollar for big-name players who may be past their prime." The formula has "worked for the Yankees" but is "yet to bear fruit on a New York basketball court." Tonight's Knicks-Nets game "will not be the battle for bragging rights envisioned when the season opened," but rather "a slog to avoid further embarrassment." If the teams are "similarly troubled, the contrasts between the two owners are striking." The "dapper Prokhorov is 6 feet 8 inches and knows his way around a basketball court," while the "rumpled Dolan is more than a foot shorter and sings the blues in a band." Despite their "ugly play, both teams are playing before large crowds in high-end arenas -- Barclays Center is new, and the Garden was recently, and expensively, renovated." Meanwhile, speculation "grows about which owner will panic first." Dolan recently said in a N.Y. Post interview, "I'll bet you I'm more patient than Mikhail is of his team." Prokhorov responded in an e-mail, "I totally agree. 'Nuff said" (N.Y. TIMES, 12/5).
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