The Russians are coming to the NBA — billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov is about to buy the New Jersey Nets (then promptly move them out of New Jersey… insert your own “told you he was a smart businessman” jokes here). This is not to mention guys who used to play for the former USSR, like Arvydas Sabonis, through today’s Russian in the game Andrei Kirilenko who have been part of the game.
Now the NBA is going to Russia — the league is opening a branch office in Moscow according to the Sports Business Journal (via The Baseline).
“We are waiting for the Prokhorov deal to be completed because we want to work with him,” said Heidi Ueberroth, president of NBA International. “We see (Russia) as a strategic market, and the Prokhorov deal only serves to accelerate our plans…”
The NBA has long had a television deal in Russia, but now wants to develop the game on a grassroots level. The NBA has conducted youth basketball camps in Russia with former NBA all-stars A.C. Green and Scottie Pippen.
“We are focusing on growing the game, and it’s already been a key part of our strategy,” Ueberroth said. “It is really important for our partners like Adidas and Coca-Cola, and we are looking at all kinds of events and additional media opportunities.”
If the players want salaries to stay near where they are — and owners want to turn a profit — then these global markets matter more and more. Because they can’t just depend on the good people of New Jersey to keep buying tickets.
LeBron James sat out the Cavs’ preseason game against the Sixers on Thursday night, but Cleveland still held the lead for all but the final 5.4 seconds. Then, Sixers rookie Scottie Wilbekin did this:
Wilbekin, who played college ball at Florida, has a chance to earn legitimate minutes for the Sixers this season as they try to find young talent on the cheap. This is a good start.
Eight days ago, Derrick Rose had surgery to repair a fractured orbital bone suffered in training camp. The Bulls said he would be ready to resume basketball activities in two weeks, and in the meantime will rejoin practice soon. That part is still on schedule — head coach Fred Hoiberg says Rose will be with the team when they return to Chicago on Monday following a two-game preseason road trip, but unless the swelling in his eye dies down, it could be a little longer before he can start practicing again.
Via K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune:
It’s not ideal, but since there’s no structural damage to Rose’s face, once he’s cleared to resume practicing, it’s just a matter of getting back into game shape before he can start playing in games. The team is still optimistic he’ll be able to play opening night against the Cavaliers on October 27.