A few weeks ago, there were reports that Mikhail Prokhorov was interested in selling the Brooklyn Nets, especially after the Clippers were sold for a staggering price tag of $2 billion. The reports were quickly denied by Prokhorov, but it does appear he is interested in getting a high price tag for his team for other reasons.
Bruce Ratner and Forest City Enterprises owns a 20% stake in the team and is looking to sell. Prokhorov’s goal is to have the franchise valued at $1 billion, which would mean Ratner’s stake would have to be valued at $200 million for any potential suitors who want to buy into the team. In order to do so, Prokhorov is apparently going to curb his outlandish spending on the team. According to a report, the Nets lost about $50 million last season, and these profits and loss statements may discourage investors from buying in to what is a not very profitable investment.
For just luxury tax purposes alone, the Nets paid $90 million for payroll last season, an outlandish amount considering the team that’s currently assembled has a particular ceiling in the Eastern Conference with several aging parts and superstars who are in decline and locked into long-term deals.
Of course, up to now, Prokhorov—who is worth billions—has not concerned himself with the bottom line, instead has spent whatever is necessary to meet his win now strategy. It’s not working out on the court, and now he has motivation to stop the free flow of money towards the team for other reasons.
We’ll see whether the Nets will do anything this summer to trim payroll, or if they’ll simply stay put. The team’s approach to building a contender has put them in a position where they’ll need to keep spending in order to stay afloat in the Eastern Conference. If the owner takes away that option, it’s going to be a new landscape in Brooklyn.
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