Prokhorov Claims NBA Expressed Willingness To Help Him Establish Nets As "Russian Entity"
Nets Owner Mikhail Prokhorov in a statement today said that the NBA in '13 indicated its "willingness to work with him" to re-register the Nets as a "Russian entity," according to the N.Y. Times' Richard Sandomir. Prokhorov said, "This is a long process which may or may not come to fruition." He added, "Of course, no steps in this direction could or would be taken w/o the full knowledge and approval of the NBA" (TWITTER.com, 3/25). Sandomir wrote Prokhorov's statement came in response to the NBA "denying his claim, first made last year, that it had given him approval to shift the Nets’ ownership" to Russia. Prokhorov yesterday spoke in Moscow "about transferring the team to a Russian-based company." NBA Exec VP/Communications Michael Bass in a statement said, "The Nets are owned by Mikhail Prokhorov through an American-based company. We have received no application nor is there a process underway through our office to transfer the ownership of the Nets to another company." Sandomir notes any transfer of ownership "must be vetted within the league and approved by at least 23 of 30 NBA owners." Prokhorov "needs the transfer to comply with a law passed last year that bars Russian government officials from holding foreign bank accounts or owning stocks and bonds issued overseas." He is "politically ambitious and is looking to the future with his desire to transfer the Nets to ownership in Russia." Prokhorov yesterday said that he "did not think" U.S. sanctions against some Russians in response to Russia President Vladimir Putin's annexation of Crimea "would affect his business" (N.Y. TIMES, 3/25). SportsCorp President Marc Ganis said, "I would expect that the only way that would be approved by the league is an agreement whereby the entity agrees that all legal matters are settled according to U.S. laws" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 3/25).