The basketball side of the Nets’ business is projected to have lost $144 million over the 2013-14 season, according to a confidential memo the league sent to all 30 teams in early June. (Grantland has reviewed and verified the memo with a half dozen sources.) If that strikes you as out of whack, that’s because it is.
The NBA expects nine teams will end up having lost money once luxury-tax distribution and revenue-sharing payments are finalized. The Nets, with that monster $144 million figure, are the biggest losers. Next in line? The Wizards, with projected losses of about $13 million. That’s right: The Nets lost $131 million more than any other NBA team last season. This is what happens when you pay $90 million in luxury tax for an aging roster and play in a market so large you are ineligible to receive any revenue-sharing help.
It’s important to note the figures here stem from basketball activities only, and do not appear to include benefits the Nets and Prokhorov get from their ownership stake in the Barclays Center. And Prokhorov, of course, is heli-skiing levels of rich. But taking a $144 million bath when the rest of the league is swimming in profits does not sit well.