Tag: Mikhail Prokhorov

Mikhail Prokhorov Introductory Press Conference

Nets infrastructure could be in for a shake up

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Nets owner Mikahil Prokhorov may draw Mark Cuban comparisons aplenty, but the two owners are apparently on very divergent paths. Though Cuban’s business ventures and widespread interests provide content fodder for his ever popular blog, the Mavericks seem to always come first. He not only invests oodles of money in the franchise, but also his time and efforts, as Cuban has gone to great lengths to stay very involved in every significant decision that the Mavs make.

Prokhorov, too, has been quite involved in the goings on in New Jersey, but it appears that he could soon have a rather substantial commitment splitting his attention. From Colin Stephenson of The Star-Ledger:


“I got a sense from him that he’s still just as committed to Nets basketball,’’ [Avery] Johnson said in a 30-minute sit-down. “At the same time, I think there was a window of opportunity for him to do what he’s doing now and get into the political realm and things he shared with me that he’s really (passionate) about, how he wants certain things changed about how things are done politically there.’’

Prokhorov is the leader of a political party — the Right Cause party — that is participating in the Dec. 4 parliamentary elections in Russia. If the party gets 7 percent of the general vote (in Russian elections, voters vote for the party, rather than individuals) then Prokhorov’s party would get some seats in the Russian Parliament.

“I don’t want to set off a fire alarm or anything, but I’m almost sure there will be a shifting the deeper he gets in this deal,’’ Johnson said. “But I think the way we’re set up as an organization, and all of the different moving parts that we have, and everybody understanding their role, I think we’ll be fine.’’

Make no mistake about it: this looks to be a pretty significant move for the Nets organization, no matter how Johnson tries to downplay things. When the man holding the purse strings of the organization doubles as an active management voice, it creates a unique dynamic. In such a scenario, the owner isn’t merely an enabler or a final threshold through which all deals must pass, but an active participant in the internal discussions that bring any possibility to final judgment. Neither managerial format is absolutely superior or inferior to the other, but the distinction between the two is certain. Should Prokhorov indeed shift his focus to the political sphere, the responsibilities of those working within the Nets organization will be shifted accordingly, and for the organization’s sake one can only hope that power is put in the right hands.

Lets maybe keep some of that authority away from whoever it was that was stumping for Travis Outlaw as Free Agent Savior, eh?

Avery Johnson is not dumb, says his boss played well in charity game

Mikhail Prokhorov Introductory Press Conference
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“Net Income” of Nets Daily has the story for us:

Avery Johnson enjoys playing with his boss, thinks the guy has skills.  At the end of Tuesday’s charity game in Moscow, the Nets coach said of his 6’9″ teammate: “Mikhail played really well today! It’s my first time I’m playing with him but it looks like we have been playing for a while. I really enjoy playing with him.” Mrs. Johnson raised no fool.

Johnson, Prokhorov and Sergei Kuschenko, the newest member of the Nets board of directors, played for the “White Team” while Russia’s top woman player, Svetlana Abrosimova, Popeye Jones and Arkadiy Dvorkovich, economic advisor to President Dmitry Medvedev (and a “Cameron Crazy” while at Duke) played for the “Red Team.” (Sigh, aren’t we all “Reds” now?) Coaching the two teams were Sergei Belov, Naismith Hall of Famer, and Deputy Prime Minister (and former KGB General!) Sergei Ivanov. The game ended in a 65-65 tie. Boxscore and video are still being edited.

Prokhorov is a natural athlete as well as a mega-billionaire playboy, and enjoys everything from playing basketball to doing flips on a jet ski. If the lockout must continue on, NBA owners, please give us at least one appearance at the Drew or Goodman league from the Nets owner. It’s the least you can do at this point.

Nets coach Johnson heads to Russia for game with Prokhorov

Avery Johnson Portrait
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How much does the Little General have in the tank?

We’re about to find out… well, “we’re” only includes you if you live in Russia. New Jersey Nets coach Avery Johnson is heading to Russia to play in a charity exhibition game with team owner Mikhail Prokhorov, reports the Star-Ledger.

Money raised at the Set. 6 event will go to help families of people that perished when a tourist cruise ship capsized and sank on a Russian river last month.

After that, Johnson will run a day of clinics for youth and some coaching seminars in Russia.

When the boss calls, what is Johnson going to do, say no? Besides, what else has he got to do? It’s not like he doesn’t have plenty of time to get ready for training camp.

Books show Nets with $44 million loss in 2008-09 season

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Did NBA teams lose money last year? And if so, really how much?

In the absence of the owners and players union sitting down and actually talking, the question of loss has become the talking point of the NBA lockout. There has been plenty of back-and-forth between the NBA and the players union — and we can throw in the New York Times — about this subject.

Darren Rovell at CNBC did something smart — when Bruce Ratner’s Nets Sports & Entertainment LLC owned the Nets, the books were public. Still are. So Rovell went and looked at them and broke down the year before the team was sold to Mikhail Prokhorov.

What he found is that while the reported loss by the team that year was $77 million, wipe out the amortization — which the league says it does not include in it’s loss numbers — and the loss falls to $44 million.

But that’s where the controversy starts on how the owners and players define losses and responsibility for those losses.

I said that there were two other numbers, which could be disputed. Let’s look at those. The first one is depreciation, which in this sense is the allocation of costs distributed over a certain period of time. In this case, the reported depreciation by Nets Sports & Entertainment is $2,041,611.

The players association says that depreciation shouldn’t be included in the losses. The owners say it absolutely should because it does reflect the cost of expenses that could be related to growing revenues. If the players get a certain percentage of revenues, the owners claim they should be responsible for some of the costs to get to those higher revenues.

The other disputed number is interest. The Nets for the 2008-09 season had $13,412,981 in interest. The players association again says that that shouldn’t be included in the losses. With depreciation, the actual loss might not be taken in the year it is credited to. With interest, the ownership is actually writing a check. The players can argue they shouldn’t share in this, but there’s no debate that that is a real loss.

I tend to side with the players on interest — it is not their responsibility if an owner took out loans to buy a team. But for fun, even if you wipe depreciation and interest off the books, the Nets still lose in the neighborhood of $28.5 million. That’s a chunk of change. You can see why an owner would be frustrated.

There needs to be some balance in the system. Should some of that kind of loss be covered by revenue sharing from larger market owners? Yes. Should a reduction in players’ salaries (via a reduced share of basketball related income) be part of it? Yes. But the Nets were bad and played in a bad building, and if an owner loses money because of that I have a hard time thinking the players should cover too much of the losses.

Nets take note — Deron Williams fires agent

Deron Williams presser
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This may mean something big next summer. It may mean nothing. But it is interesting.

Deron Williams fired his agent Bob McClaren, according to a tweet from Michele Steele of Bloomberg. He has yet to announce the hiring of a new one.

Williams can opt out of his current deal in the summer of 2012, and the Nets have traded for him and made signing him the number one, two and three priority. He is the start to turn around the Nets fortunes, to open the new arena in Brooklyn, the guy owner Mikhail Prokhorov has pinned his franchise revival to.

A new agent may be just a guy Williams thinks can negotiate a better deal with the Nets. Or it may mean a guy he thinks is better connected, better suited to bringing other stars to New Jersey. Or Williams to other stars elsewhere.

Williams most likely has not even made up his mind about his future in New Jersey yet. But there is about to be a major new player at the table with the stakes being where Williams plays in a couple seasons.