Nets Expect To See Revenues "Pop" After Signing Durant, Irving
The Nets, after signing Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving on the first day of NBA free agency, are "projecting that revenue for the upcoming season will pop" by 10-15%, according to a source cited by Josh Kosman of the N.Y. POST. The source said that "mere hype" around the two new stars could help the team generate an extra $29-43.5M through "increased season ticket sales, corporate sponsorships and merchandising deals." Meanwhile, Alibaba co-Founder and Nets co-Owner Joe Tsai agreed to buy 49% of the team in April '18 from Majority Owner Mikhail Prokhorov at a "record valuation" of $2.35B. In order for Prokhorov to "get the full amount, he needs Tsai to agree to acquire the rest of the team" in '21, which is "precisely when a fully recovered Durant is expected to come back to the court and become a major draw for both fans and sponsors." Sources said that Prokhorov's bankers had "promised Tsai a new management team that would develop a core of young players and sign a big free agent." Tsai has "already indicated he would exercise his right and buy the rest of the team." Meanwhile, sources said that current sponsor Barclays is "not likely to pony up to keep its name on the arena as it's no longer building a commercial banking presence in the U.S." (N.Y. POST, 7/2). CNBC's Eric Chemi said now that the team is co-owned by Tsai, there is "already talk about what can these players do in terms of doing business with Alibaba, expand their marketing into China, how will that help their brands?" For Irving and Durant, both Nike athletes, it could help their "expansion internationally" ("Power Lunch," CNBC, 7/1).
SUPERTEAM, ASSEMBLE! SNY’s Marc Malusis said, "Last season, the Nets were a playoff team, won the first game of their series, they were challenging and looked good, and nobody cared. Now with KD and Kyrie here, all of the national media will end up focusing more on Brooklyn because there's nothing to see at the Garden" (“Loud Mouths,” SNY, 7/1). BLEACHER REPORT's Howard Beck noted while the "city was TBD," Durant and Irving were "going to play together, somewhere." Sources said that is what the two "resolved over a series of conversations" before this past NBA season "even began." When Durant and Irving agreed to terms with the Nets on Sunday, they put a "big, bold exclamation point on one of the most spectacular franchise revivals in NBA history." It took Nets GM Sean Marks "just three seasons to rebuild the roster, revamp the culture, crash the playoffs and make the Nets feel as hip as their brownstone-lined neighborhood." The Durant-Irving "coup validates everything Marks and coach Kenny Atkinson have built." Initially, Durant and Irving "discussed joining forces with the Knicks," as New Jersey-native Irving "liked the idea of playing close to home." Durant, who was launching Thirty Five Media in N.Y., "liked the potential synergy, as well as the chance to be closer to his family in Maryland." However, that initial plan "quickly lost steam as the Knicks lost their way." Neither player was "eager to wear the 'savior' mantle." However, it is "different in Brooklyn, where the Nets generally operate below the radar, with less scrutiny and more measured expectations" (BLEACHERREPORT.com, 7/1).
ABOUT FACE: In DC, Ben Golliver wrote the Nets' signing of both Durant and Irving completes the team's "remarkable turnaround." After spending "most of the last decade as the NBA's bleakest output, Brooklyn will welcome two of the league's most entertaining players" (WASHINGTONPOST.COM, 7/1). CBSSN’s Adam Schein said Atkinson and Marks "inherited a mess" as the nets had "no cap room and no first-round picks." He added, "They had a plan and stayed with it. Kenny Atkinson is a fabulous coach and Marks is a terrific GM. This is like a Houdini act and Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving were paying attention (“Time to Schein,” CBSSN, 7/1).On Long Island, Barbara Barker writes it is "hard to overstate just what kind of state of disrepair the Nets were in" when Marks and Atkinson "took over a little more than three years ago." Marks "bought low on players who turned out to have high value," and Atkinson, who had "never been an NBA head coach before, proved himself to be the type of straight shooter players can trust and like to play for" (NEWSDAY, 7/2). ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski: “With their infrastructure and geography, the Nets are poised to be a franchise of intrigue for star free agents" (“SportsCenter,” ESPN, 7/1). THE ATHLETIC's Michael Scotto wrote the Nets have "taken over as the top team" in N.Y. There has not been "anything close to this level of excitement for basketball fans in the borough since the Nets acquired aging stars Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce" in '13 (THEATHLETIC.com, 7/1).