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Tuesday, April 6th, 2010 at 9:30 am  |  33 responses

No One Can Figure Out Mikhail Prokhorov

by Marcel Mutoni / @marcel_mutoni

Before going out to win his fourth national championship as head coach of the Duke Blue Devils last night, there was talk that the New Jersey Nets’ incoming team owner was ready to offer Mike Krzyzewski a $15 mil/year contract to leave Durham. Such talk was quickly dismissed by Coach K.

Still … What else does this Russian guy have up his sleeve, and more importantly, just how far is he willing to go to make an immediate splash and turn the Nets into not only a winning team, but a relevant one?

The great Dave D’Alessandro of the NJ Star-Ledger tracked down a few league execs — people who Prokhorov will be competing against over the coming years in the NBA — for their opinions (and fears) of the new guy moving into the neighborhood:

What would the reaction be around the NBA if an owner threw a $15 million-per-year offer at a new coach — specifically, the reaction among his business partners, those fellow owners who are trying to keep expenditures under control in these difficult times? “They would love it,” the Mavericks owner replied in an e-mail. “It would show he is stupid money, and not a competitive threat.”

“But it only takes one owner to throw that out of whack,” said a third executive. “Even if it’s a combo job (coach and general manager), that $15 million figure is shocking to most people. Besides Phil, the only guy you can justify giving that money to would be Pat Riley, and only if he ran the whole show. But to give that to a coach, even Coach K, that’s going to irritate some people.

“But not me. I’m not surprised about the number. (Prokhorov) strikes me as the kind of guy who would throw money at a problem. And if there’s a bad reaction to it, he couldn’t care less. The Nets are at the bottom, he’ll take them to the top, and he doesn’t care how he does it.”

The Nets certainly don’t scare anyone. Their soon-to-be new boss does, because no one knows what he’ll do, but they’re perfectly aware that whatever it is, it will be big and bold.

One day, Nets fans can only hope, the team itself will strike fear and trepidation in the hearts of its opponents.

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  • http://digitalthread.com AlbertBarr

    Cuban is full of sh*t. He knows that big$ = big problems for the rest of the league…how can it not? Prokhorov has the resources to sign ANYONE. That is a good problem.

  • NJ4Life

    Cubes is just jealous. And after the whole “thank you cuban” fiasco in Jersey, I can’t imagine he’s too pleased that the Nets have the league’s richest owner.

  • kh

    If only coach K could shoot, rebound, pass, drive, dunk, block shots, play help side defense, on ball defense, as well as countless other intangibles.

    Having GOD as there coach couldn’t make the nets play any better.

  • adrianc513

    i wanna see what free agent he goes after

  • RedRum

    OK… lets just say that the guy is not just another owner… the guy knows basketball really well, he was heavily involved with CCSK roster, serving as general manager quite a lot of time. I still think it is bad for the NBA to bring in as an owner a russian oligarch, but watch out… Prokhorov is not another Cubes that “thinks” he knows bball, Prok REALLY knows bball.

  • http://www.realcavsfans.com Anton

    Sounds like he’d be the type to buy all the hotel rooms to make the visiting teams travel 6 hours to the arena.

  • RedRum

    sort off… CCSKA was ruling russian basketball with scandalous ways. For example, the league would postpone league games before CCSKA crucial games for the Euroleague, always having favourable refs, playing games at convenient times, etc etc…Prok will look into getting in NBA decision centers, an pull strings. No doubt about it. Also, if this is my last post ever tell my mum I love her…

  • Coney Islander

    Once he’s in Brooklyn I’ll pay attention, but until then, he doesn’t matter.

  • http://slamonline.com d.j.

    RedRum she said she doesn’t care… also i hope this guy goes Roman Abramovic on NBA’s ass this summer ! and i would love to see david sterns reaction after he buys up every1…. can you imagine this guy getting finned at a game for criticizing the refs… hell go into the stands, find stern where he is sitting and just throw the $ cash at him make it rain… he can afford to get fined every game…

  • tbizzle!

    @d.j. i would loooooove to see that happen!!! and watch as stern is looking dumbfounded as those big faces are cascading down on him sticking to his face, cos he is crying lol…

  • http://www.hibachi20.blogspot.com BETCATS

    I am looking forward to seeing what this guy is gonna do this summer….

  • http://slamonline BossTerry

    excuse my spelling.. I bet he goes after Andrei Kerlinko. and I saw on the local news that Victor Kryphic plans to return to the nba next season.

  • Jonny C

    hes my favorite owner already. cuban aint s***, i cant wait to see what prokhorov does. watching that interview with him on 60 minutes only made me love this guy more.

  • NAS

    for all you SOCCER FANS – he is EASY to READ just look at the CHELSEA BOSS – BTW his tactic of THROWING MONEY has been pretty darn SUCCESSFUL

  • JD

    So its ok to give a play 15 mil? But when you give it to a coach Its a waste of money?
    btw he’s russian get over it

  • RedRum

    If I were a Nets fan, I would be a very happy man that this guy takes over my team. He is a very smart, very rich, very basketball knowledgeable guy. On top of that he is a guy that knows how to pull strings… My guess is that coach K are is going to give in.

  • ab_40

    so now you have this russian mogul in new jersey and in a few years brooklyn who can probably buy players women haha and you’ve got MJ in charlotte pulling the strings. GS will have a new owner and more importantly health next season… changes are gonna come… but now let’s watch how these playoffs are gonna play out. it’s gonna be nice

  • http://idunkonthem.blogspot.com/ albie1kenobi

    is he the reason why the owners want a hard cap on salary in the new CBA?

  • AI best balla of the 2000s

    wait im a guy who knows bball stats and crap but i dont get it i keep hearing all them free agents are gonna have a limit of how much the teams can offer unless thyere resigning………..so it wouldnt matter how much money hes got rite???? or am i mistaken

  • AI best balla of the 2000s

    when i say i kno stats im trying to say that i dont get the whole way the caps and wat nots work beyond the obvious point lol

  • http://idunkonthem.blogspot.com/ albie1kenobi

    i’m no expert on the NBA salary either but here’s what i understand:
    teams that the player is currently on can offer a higher maximum than the maximum offered by another team, which means cavs can offer more money to lebron than knicks can.
    the league is structured currently so that when a team reaches a soft cap for the total team salary, they have to pay the NBA the amount that is over the cap. for this season the cap is at $57.7 million. so if the total team salary is $67.7 million, then the team will have to pay $10 million as luxury tax.
    i brought up the point of hard cap because if Prokhorov have a “infinite” amount of money and don’t mind throwing more money at things, theoretically speaking he can sign multiple max contracts and just pay a ridiculous amount of luxury tax.
    at least that’s how i understand it.

  • http://dsfjklf.com Jukai

    albie: there are rules for signing players when you are over the luxury cap, he technically couldn’t do that.

  • MikeC.

    Everyone that thinks having billions of dollars to throw around will buy the Nets a good team, I present my rebuttal : ask the Knicks how that worked out for them.

  • jufu

    fellow nets fans, we have found our moses.

  • RedRum

    Jukai, what do you mean there are rules for signing players when over the luxury cap? Can you be a bit more specific? Not being argumentative, but there are teams that had budgets of 100-120 mils (Knicks, Mavs), and never had a problem bringing in expensive contracts.

  • http://joeloholic.wordpress.com Joel O’s

    Remember what Roman Abramovich did for Chelsea, indeed, needless to say what Cuban did for Dallas. I don’t think they will win right away – neither did Chelsea or Dallas at first, either. Dallas had to go through the Antoine Walker Point Forward experiment, Raef Lafrentz, Antawn Jamison’s 6th-man campaign, etc. and Chelsea signed EVERYONE and literally had a 22-man rotation if needed. There’s a salary cap for sure, and it’s not like overpaying everyone is a surefire road to success (eg. NYK over the past decade), but having an owner who is proactive, proud and willing to invest in the right personnel is a very good situation.

  • nastierthanu

    Anxious to see what this guy does. Making the L more interesting already

  • http://joeloholic.wordpress.com Joel O’s

    But really, having a salary cap in the NBA is great simply because a really rich owner CAN’T just go sign the entire conference’s All Stars and have them sit on your bench. I’d expect a Cuban-like impact… not a Roman-like one, simply because the NBA cap rules ensure that the league stays competitive, unlike the EPL where it truly is a case of “the rich get richer”. The top EPL teams haven’t changed in the decade – Man U, Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool – whereas we’ve seen the Lakers come and go and return, ditto with Detroit Basketball, Boston and Miami’s one-shots, and the Spurs’ run every other year.

  • http://slamonline.com d.j.

    yall need to stop comparing the Knicks to this guy cause Knicks signed stupid players to a lot of $ thats why they never won.. this guy has bball knowledge and i dont think he will throw $ at ppl that dont deserve it.. if you overpay good players = winning if you overpay mediocre/bad players = Knicks….

  • RedRum

    no one is COMPARING the knicks with what Prok might do, we re just saying that is is possible to have a budget twice as much as the salary cup .remember, Abrhamovic in Chelsea, has 160 million budget ONLY for signing new players, separately to the contracts they have already… oh, and Prok has 2-3 times more money than Abrhamovic… also remember, that when he was the president of CCSKA, they had an 60-80 million budget (now they only have 50…), without the revenue that comes to the NBA teams. Seriously… the guy might take over the NBA… especially if the Nets move to Brooklyn and get a hard core fanbase

  • Lazaruz

    his whole starting line up for cska moskow was all euro all stars and then off the bench he had jr holden! dude will find a way to make this team good, unless new york knicks v2?

  • therighttoremainsalient

    throw some money at the uni design and you’ll have a new fan.

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