Nets sale could be submarined by previous dealings in Zimbabwe

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Everything was going so well. They avoided the worst record in league history. They have all the cap space in the world. Nearly all the obstructions to the start of construction on their new arena in Brooklyn have been cleared. And the new owner seems like a billionaire playboy featured on 60 Minutes. Things were looking up for the New Jersey Nets.

Until now.

The New York Post reports this morning that a New Jersey Congressman is seeking an investigation into prospective Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov. The question at hand is in regards to one of Prokhorov’s company’s involvement in Zimbabwe, which is under heavy U.S. sanctions. The Post alleges direct involvement between the entity’s CEO and brutal dictator Robert Mugabe.

The league announced that Prokhorov had cleared a prior background check, but a source told the Post that the dealings in Zimbabwe had not come up during the check. The league had put the vote to approve the sale of the Nets on hold until the final elements of the Barclays Arena could be sorted out.

If this deal were to fall apart, the results would be disastrous for the Nets and would put the league’s background check under a significant blight. But these are also serious allegations that can’t be swept under the rug, and are complicated in nature and scope. The future for the New Jersey Nets seems as uncertain as ever, and it’s got nothing to do with the John Wall versus Devin Harris debate.