Mikhail Prokhorov kept insisting Monday that he is in no hurry to fill the general manager or coaching vacancies for the Brooklyn Nets.
Which begs the question: If he is in no hurry, is that because he is buying time in order to sell the team?
I wouldn’t rule it out.
My biggest takeaway from Prokhorov’s news conference in the wake of his pogrom that dispatched Billy King and Lionel Hollins was the Russian billionaire’s admission that people have been making bids for the team, and he would welcome even more bids — even though he claims he has no intention of selling the team.
But when a guy says “I am a businessman,” you know what he means by that? He is looking at the Nets as merely one of his major business interests, and if disposing of that money-losing business and turning a profit ends up making the most sense, he’ll do what any astute businessman would do — sell it and move on with his life.
We are now in Year Six of the Prokhorov Era, and the Nets are long past the point of having pushed all of their chips into the pot. They went all-in on Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, Joe Johnson and the accompanying tens of millions of dollars in luxury taxes that it cost to maintain that payroll, and the gamble failed.
The Nets’ chip stack is now the poker equivalent of a chip and a chair. Brooklyn is still part of the NBA, and that will never change. But the draft pick cupboard is bare, the only trade assets are Brook Lopez and Thaddeus Young, and although plenty of big names will be bandied out as the Nets search for a new GM and coach, the fact of the matter is this: No executive or coach with aspirations of competing for a title in the immediate future will want any part of the mess that Billy King left behind.
Running or coaching the Nets will not be a glamour job. It’ll be an exercise in year-to-year triage for the next half-decade.
Forbes ranks the Nets as the NBA’s sixth-most valuable franchise, at $1.5 billion with annual revenues of $212 million and an operating loss in the past year of $99.4 million. Prokhorov recently gained control of 100 percent of team ownership and 100 percent ownership of the Barclays Celter, which makes a potential sale all the more easier. In the press release announcing the acquisition, the valuation of he team and the arena was pegged at $1.7 billion. Other reports have said it is closer to $1.9 billion.
More on Brooklyn’s bleak future in this video with CineSport’s Noah Coslov:
Chris Sheridan is publisher and editor-in-chief of SheridanHoops.com. Follow him on Twitter.