Prokhorov\’s Reaction

Prokhorov\’s Statement

By: NBASCOUT / Special to

Nets Owner Mikhail Prokhorov reacted to the decision by LeBron James to choose Miami by issuing the following statement:*

\”We have a vision of a championship team and need to invest wisely and for the long term,\” Prokhorov said. \”Fortunately, we have more than one plan to reach success, and, as I have found in all areas of my business, that is key to achieving it. To Nets fans past, present and future, the goal of making the playoffs this season remains intact and we reiterate our commitment to winning a championship within five years.\”

At the end of the day, I think LeBron James\’ decision hinged on where he felt most comfortable. Mikhail Prokhorov is the \’new kid on the block\’ in the ranks of ownership and, perhaps, LeBron, or his advisors, felt that Prokhorov didn\’t have enough of an established track record in the NBA to warrant moving over to his ball club. Jay-Z and Avery simply weren\’t enough. Pat Riley and the Arison family had a more established track record in management and ownership and that was no doubt a major factor.

The dynamics of the NBA are different than in the Euroleagues where you can buy, pretty much, anything you want. Like the old Wild West, the rules overseas are akin to American basketball sixty years ago.

Currently, the NBA rules \’level the playing field\’ and every owner with sufficient cap space can offer a player essentially the same thing. If you can\’t persuade a player to leave his \’comfort zone\’ by some other factors that differentiate what you have to offer, you won\’t win.

The Miami Heat\’s history, record of ownership and management were more of an attraction to LeBron. The fact that they already had one of the top free agents, Dwayne Wade, in-house, was another.

Miami was able to offer as much if not more than anyone else by using the weather, favorable tax climate and championship experience to their advantage. Bosh was key in this matter as his priorities of weather and other factors were met in South Beach.

Once Bosh leaned openly in the direction of Miami and leaked it to Wade, that started \’the ball in motion\’ for an unprecedented transfer of all the top free agent talent to a single address down in Miami. No doubt it completely alters the balance of power on the NBA landscape.*

Fortunate for the Miami Heat, they played the Summer of Lebron better than anyone else, clearing enough cap space for nearly two maximum contract players, not including Wade, who they already had in tow. That cinched it.

Once the players decided, it is no accident that both Toronto and Cleveland have been cajoled into signing and trading these two players for some consolation first round draft choices as meager compensation that will also enable the players to ink maximum duration (sixth year) contracts. [Who said maximum duration contracts weren\’t a priority to the players?] In essence, it appears, that the players only give up before taxes what the more or less favorable Florida tax climate puts back in their pockets after taxes. $15 million or so over the life of the contracts.

It is now reported that LeBron James and Chris Bosh signed matching six-year, $110.1 million contracts, sources told ESPN The Magazine\’s Ric Bucher.

Dwyane Wade signed for six years and $107.5 million, according to the sources.

Each player supposedly took $15 million less over the life of the contract to sign with Miami, but they have an opt out after the fourth year to all potentially become free agents again in 2014. [Something that also compensates for taking a little less than the exact maximum.]

The Heat sent two future first-round and two second-round picks to the Cavaliers for James, while packaging two first-round picks to the Raptors for Bosh.

For Mikhail Prokhorov this whole experience may be deflating, but it is a good learning experience. He\’s realizing it\’s not easy to come in as the \’new kid on the block\’ and \’take the NBA by storm.\’

Sometimes you have to \’pay your dues\’ to attain success in an endeavor. With more than a few billionaire owners in the league, it is certainly true of the NBA.

NBASCOUT is an independent freelance sportswriter that covers the NBA and the New Jersey Nets. He is not affiliated with the National Basketball Association. Copyright 2010 by NBASCOUT, all rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without the express written consent of the author. The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and not necessarily this website. You may e-mail NBASCOUT in care-of his wife, who writes for children, at

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