Among the most popular discussion topics among front office types at the NBA Summer League in Las Vegas was a thinly-veiled disgust at Mikhail Prokhorov and the Brooklyn Nets. While even elite teams are looking to save costs against the new tax structure — Miami amnestied Mike Miller to save money — the Nets went the opposite direction (and somehow getting Andrei Kirilenko at less money than other teams were offering).
The Nets put together a payroll around $101 million that will bring more than $80 million in tax (as currently constructed). That is not sitting well with other teams.
And for the Nets, the guy writing the big checks expects results. He was not subtle at the press conference introducing Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce, as reported by the New York Post.
“I have done what I can. Now I think it is high time for the team to do the rest,” he said, deadpan…
“When I bought the team, I promised to create a championship contender, a team worthy of Brooklyn,” said Prokhorov. “I’ll be proud when we win the championship. I am not a man of procedure. I am a man of results.”
No pressure guys.
As for what the rest of the NBA thinks, about all those whispers behind his back, Prokhorov shrugs.
“I’m willing to invest more to make [the] Brooklyn franchise the best in the league….
“Old stereotypes, they’re very hard to beat and to break,” Prokhorov said. “I respect all the NBA rules and we play by the NBA rules. But I want just to stress again like with [the] luxury tax, I will do whatever I can in order to win [a] championship, but under the NBA rules. Please make no mistake about this.”
We’ll see. Even with all that spending the Nets are not the favorite in the East (I’d have Miami, Indiana and Chicago ahead of them). They need a lot of things to go right to contend — Garnett and Pierce need to be healthy, Deron Williams needs to return to his Utah form, and Jason Kidd needs to prove he can coach. It’s a lot of things to go right.
But that’s what the owner is paying for.