Nets Takeover Gives Joe Tsai NBA Presence In Biggest U.S. Market
Joe Tsai will pay Mikhail Prokhorov about $2.35B for the Nets -- a record for a U.S. pro franchise -- and nearly $1B for Barclays Center in a "separate transaction," according to sources cited by Brian Mahoney of the AP. The deal is "expected to be completed by the end of September and is subject to approval" by the NBA BOG (AP, 8/16). On Long Island, Jim Baumbach noted the deal allows Prokhorov to "retain control of NYCB Live’s Nassau Coliseum." Prokhorov’s Onexim Sports & Entertainment also is "retaining its ownership stake" in the proposed $1.5B commercial and residential redevelopment plans at Nassau HUB (NEWSDAY, 8/17). In N.Y., Kosman & Lewis cited a source as saying that Tsai agreed to the record purchase price "because he wanted a New York City team and it was the only one for sale." Sources said that Tsai is also "banking on the NBA’s international growth, especially in China where he has deep ties." China’s "demand for the NBA -- and the Nets specifically -- could grow exponentially if Tsai were to recruit a Chinese player, which he has said he wants to do." In addition to the team, Tsai will pay $700M for Barclays Center. A source said that because the arena also comes with $325M in debt, the "total cost to Tsai sits" at $3.38M (N.Y. POST, 8/17).
PROKHOROV'S LEGACY: SI.com's Chris Mannix wrote Prokhorov "was an awful NBA owner, or so the final numbers suggest." But by "some measurements," he was "good NBA owner." ESPN's Bobby Marks, who worked in the Nets front office under Prokhorov, said, "Part of his legacy is that he saved the Nets." Mannix: "He spent money. Lots of money." In the end, Prokhorov’s issues "stemmed from his lack of understanding of how to be an NBA owner" (SI.com, 8/16). In N.Y., Stefan Bondy wrote for the "first few years of his ownership, Prokhorov was present and fun," though his image as an "outlandish playboy was an act." Prokhorov’s "true mark on the Nets" was "pumping money into the franchise and funding the move to Brooklyn." He "saved the Nets from Bruce Ratner, who wasn’t wealthy enough to be an owner in the new NBA in a big market" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 8/17).