Joseph Tsai Rumors

Nets to make 'godfather offer' to Gregg Popovich?

In an appearance this week on the “Let’s Get Technical” podcast with retired NBA stars Rasheed Wallace and Bonzi Wells, Gerald Brown of SiriusXM NBA Radio noted the presence of rumors linking Popovich to the Brooklyn Nets. The rumors state that Nets owner Joe Tsai is looking to make a “godfather offer” to Popovich for him to come coach the team.

The Nets have emailed their season-ticket holders a refund policy that includes a 20 percent matching contribution by team owner Joe Tsai. According to a person familiar with the situation, the Nets began emailing their fans last week, around the time the NBA’s Board of Governors voted to restart the season in Orlando with 22 teams and without fans in late July.
No one, of course, has permission to do anything at Barclays Center without the OK from Joe Tsai, the cofounder and executive vice chairman of Alibaba who became 100% owner of the Brooklyn Nets in 2019. The cement blocks outside his building have become a canvas for those who feel their voices have gone unheard. Tsai empathizes. So long as it’s peaceful, he is a champion for those protesting at Barclays. “Those of us who cannot possibly experience the personal pain and indignity of racism towards black people feel a sense of helplessness as frustration and anxiety reach a boiling point. But it does not mean that we sit idle,” Tsai said in a statement to The Daily News.
Joe Tsai: “We have said that we will use the voice and platform of the Nets, Liberty and Barclays Center to facilitate empathy and dialogue. In Brooklyn, the Plaza at Flatbush and Atlantic has become a place for people to assemble and have their voice heard. If it continues to serve as a place where everyone from our community – from residents to businesses to police alike – gather peacefully to listen to each other and find common ground, then it’s good with me.”
“If you look at the Los Angeles Lakers or Milwaukee Bucks, they are in first place when the season got suspended,” Tsai said last week to a virtual classroom of students at Stanford, where his daughter is a junior. “There is a chance for them to go to the championship. Of course they want to play. If you are in 28th place, maybe this season isn’t that important. There is a difference in opinion among the owners, as well.”
Storyline: Season Suspension
Tsai said NBA commissioner Adam Silver is primarily focused on safety. “I think Adam has said, ‘We are not looking at a date.’ Setting a target date doesn’t make any sense,” Tsai said. “Let’s look at the data. I think one of the most important things is, to Dr. [Anthony] Fauci’s point, you have to have enough tests. One of the most pernicious things about COVID-19 is you can be asymptomatic and be infectious, so you can infect other people while you look perfectly healthy. That’s a big problem. Without tests to identify those that are contagious, and then we try to isolate them, it’s really very difficult to restart and keep everybody safe and healthy.”
Joe Tsai isn’t just helping the home city of the team he owns. The Nets’ owner is also doing his part for Detroit, teaming with Pistons owner Tom Gores to deliver 350,000 KN95 masks and 100,000 medical goggles to the city in the fight against the novel coronavirus, it was announced Thursday. The masks and goggles will be sent to Detroit’s COVID-19 testing centers, homeless shelters and frontline workers of transportation and police departments. They were donated by the Joe and Clara Tsai Foundation, run by the Nets owner and his wife, which imported the PPE supplies from China and were aided by Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan and the Pistons organization in distribution, allocation and support of the deliveries.
The Nets and Barclays Center, both part of Joe Tsai’s Brooklyn Sports & Entertainment, served hundreds of Brooklynites Saturday at a mobile food pantry set up on the arena’s entrance plaza. Working with Food Bank for New York City, the Nets and Barclays distributed both food and household supplies. In addition, families with children were given NBA Math Hoops board games, courtesy of the Nets. It’s a basketball board game that aims to engage students in math and social-emotional learning skills.
“‘I think that the Chinese remain very fearful about what will happen when we finally all get on top of this virus, and there is going to be an investigation of how it started,’ said Bonnie Glaser, the director of the China Power Project at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington. ‘They’re just trying to repair the damage that was done very early on to China’s reputation.’” Tsai’s name is not in the Times story—quite possibly his generous, life-saving donation was about nothing but being big-hearted. But it’s fair to keep an eye on his political actions, and to wonder about his motivations.
Cuomo said that the ventilators, whose delivery is being facilitated by the Chinese government, will arrive at JFK on Saturday. “This is a big deal and it going to make a significant difference for us,” Cuomo said. The NBA and WNBA, in addition to players and teams, have committed $50 million to coronavirus-related relief efforts.
Just two days before Saturday’s donation, Cuomo had announced that New York’s stockpile of ventilators was projected to last just six days. And New York officials have said the state is yet to reach the peak of the virus. The Alibaba Group, of which Tsai is the co-founder and executive vice chairman of, had already donated one million surgical masks and 500,000 testing kits to New York.
Every bit of help is key amidst this coronavirus pandemic, whether it’s food, cash or medical supplies. The Nets, Barclays Center and Alibaba — all owned by Joe Tsai — have been providing all of the above. With live sports shut down and teams and arenas getting squeezed economically, many hourly workers have been laid off or face pay cuts. But Nets and Barclays Center employees are getting the same checks they would have if they’d worked events as scheduled through the end of May. And it’s not just NBA games, but concerts, Islanders games, college basketball like the A-10 tourney and even graduations. A source familiar with the unions and the overall process told The Post the checks cut could end up totaling an estimated $6 million.
“We discussed supplies. I want to thank Michael Evans from Alibaba, who is here with us today,” Cuomo said at Monday’s press briefing. “I want to thank Elizabeth Jennings [the chief of staff] from the Asia Society, who is here with us today, who are helping us source supplies.“We’re in a situation where you have 50 states all competing for supplies, the federal government is now also competing for supplies, private hospitals are also competing for supplies. We’ve created a situation where you literally have hundreds of entities looking to buy the same exact materials basically from the same place, which is China.”
Why now: ”Both sides kind of agreed that your voice (Kenny’s) is just not the same anymore like you’ve lost this team, and it is unsalvageable. It is something you won’t get back. I think at that point Kenny is like listen: if you’re going to fire me, get it out of the way I’m done.” On Joe Tsai’s role: ”Joe Tsai has been conversational with players over the course of the whole season. I haven’t heard any level of significant impact that he has had on this, that remains unclear. But listen he is the owner of the basketball team, the franchise, the business. For him not to have a voice would shock me.”
Why now: ”Both sides kind of agreed that your voice (Kenny’s) is just not the same anymore like you’ve lost this team, and it is unsalvageable. It is something you won’t get back. I think at that point Kenny is like listen: if you’re going to fire me, get it out of the way I’m done.” On Joe Tsai’s role: ”Joe Tsai has been conversational with players over the course of the whole season. I haven’t heard any level of significant impact that he has had on this, that remains unclear. But listen he is the owner of the basketball team, the franchise, the business. For him not to have a voice would shock me.”
Nets owner Joe Tsai spoke with Bloomberg Businessweek, and essentially said that he and Levy, the former president of Turner Broadcasting, had different expectations for the job. Tsai, who closed his record purchase of the Nets in September, also made Levy the president of J Tsai Sports. Through the holding company for his sports portfolio, Tsai owns not only the Nets, but the WNBA’s New York Liberty, a lacrosse team in San Diego, and stakes in MLS side LAFC and in the Premier Lacrosse League. “He was already looking ahead at how to grow the J Tsai sports portfolio, but we also needed someone to do the nuts and bolts,” Tsai told Bloomberg Businessweek. “Maybe he thought that he wanted to do something that’s bigger and he could just bring in other people to do it, and I’m of a view that before you outsource something you should do it yourself.”
Tsai wooed Levy, a 33-year veteran of Turner Sports, with a heavy portfolio. He was named CEO of the Nets, Barclays and J Tsai Sports, Tsai’s holding company that also controls the New York Liberty and his other sports investments in lacrosse, soccer and esports. Levy was also named an “alternate governor” of the Nets and a “venture partner” in Tsai’s family investment vehicle. Still, one team insider told NetsDaily that Levy was surprised to be managing something as small as the Nets after running Turner Media. And in fact, Levy told Bloomberg last month, “It wasn’t the job I signed up for and we agreed to part ways.” Both Tsai and Levy told Boudway they remain friends.
Joseph Tsai says his purchase last year of NBA’s Brooklyn Nets—along with their home arena—is meant to capitalize on the growing worldwide appeal of basketball. “Basketball is a global sport because it is easily accessible and its urban street culture is appealing to young people. Fans from all over the world, from China to Southeast Asia to Europe to the U.S., form a deep bond over this cultural phenomenon, led by the NBA and its stars,” Tsai, 56, says in an email through an Alibaba spokesman.
He returned home to take a job in the Ministry of Economic Affairs, becoming, Tsai says, the chief drafter of a 1960 law that opened Taiwan to foreign investment and helped usher in an export-driven economic boom that lasted decades. In 1965, the year after Joe was born as the first of four children, his grandfather and father established Tsar & Tsai, a law firm that became a go-to shop for international clients looking to do business in Taiwan. “I’m Chinese,” Tsai says. “I grew up in a very culturally Chinese environment.” He spoke Mandarin as a child, and his parents talked about returning to visit the mainland. At the time, the KMT saw itself as China’s rightful ruler, a status then recognized by most of the West. “My upbringing is always that there is one China,” he says.
“I believe that there are strains of separatism, because they don’t want to have anything to do with China,” Tsai says in defense of his letter. “They are very anti-China, burning the Chinese flag, beating up people who speak Mandarin, vandalizing Chinese-owned shops.” In his estimation, although the protests may have begun as a peaceful effort to strengthen the “two systems” part of the handover agreement, they’ve since morphed into a violent attempt to undermine the “one country” part. “People should think very seriously about saying that it’s not a separatist movement,” he says. “I think they should look at the facts.”
In talking with Bloomberg’s Ian Boudway, Joe Tsai notes that getting NBA games back on CCTV-5, the Chinese government owned version of ESPN, is critical. TenCent, the company that holds the NBA’s streaming rights, is back airing games, but CCTV has refused to relent on its boycott. “Once you are on the air,” Tsai said, “everything will come back.” And a “person familiar with the matter” told Bouway that the league is optimistic the network will begin airing games again, starting with the All-Star Game on February 16.
Whenever the controversy ends, the question is whether the Nets, with their Chinese owner, will supplant the Rockets as China’s team, a position Houston held from the time they drafted Yao Ming in 2002 till last fall’s controversy. Tsai doesn’t think it’s a big deal. Most of the China revenue, along with most NBA revenue in general, is shared by all 30 teams. “If the Nets are very well-known in China, maybe we will get a little bit more sponsorship revenue, maybe some Chinese company will have signs here instead of Qatar Airways,” he told Boudway, pointing to ads ringing the rafters at Barclays. “But that doesn’t really move the needle. What’s important is if the NBA is very popular in China.”
Storyline: Morey's Hong Kong Tweet
Tsai reiterated that he’s willing to pay the luxury tax if needed… ”We know the fans expect us to win a championship…if we pay luxury tax, so be it. And the good thing is I believe that we do have the pieces in place. Now we have some injuries and people are coming back. But the fundamental pieces are in place to perhaps go all the way, so I’m absolutely comfortable that if we pay the luxury tax that’s fine.”
In the YES interview. Tsai noted the popularity of hoops in China and the importance of international basketball to the NBA’s future. “Well, the NBA is global; it’s a global sport. Basketball is played everywhere in the world, and in China there’s over 300 million people that play basketball, that watch NBA games. Also let’s put this thing in a historical perspective; the NBA has been in China for 40 years.”
Joe Tsai: “So when you look at these 40 years — all the history of the NBA in China, all the goodwill the NBA has built up — you have to take a long-term perspective. Now, we sort of have a short-term setback. Both sides are working to get our relationship back on track. The key thing is we need be broadcast on TV back in China. There’s talk NBA ratings are kind of down for various reasons. But we don’t want to see ratings go down globally. We need the NBA games to be back on TV in China.”
In an interview with Ian Eagle that aired prior to the Nets – 76ers game, Joe Tsai said the NBA and China are working to rebuild their relationship, referring to last fall’s controversy as “a short-term setback” in a four decade-long affiliation. In the YES interview. Tsai noted the popularity of hoops in China and the importance of international basketball to the NBA’s future. “Well, the NBA is global; it’s a global sport. Basketball is played everywhere in the world, and in China there’s over 300 million people that play basketball, that watch NBA games. Also let’s put this thing in a historical perspective; the NBA has been in China for 40 years.
Storyline: Morey's Hong Kong Tweet
“So when you look at these 40 years — all the history of the NBA in China, all the goodwill the NBA has built up — you have to take a long-term perspective. Now, we sort of have a short-term setback. Both sides are working to get our relationship back on track. The key thing is we need be broadcast on TV back in China. “There’s talk NBA ratings are kind of down for various reasons. But we don’t want to see ratings go down globally. We need the NBA games to be back on TV in China.”
After the Warriors, the NBA team that increased in value the most is the Brooklyn Nets, which have been sold twice in the past decade, first to Russian billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov, who bought in 2010 and then moved the team from New Jersey to the $1 billion Barclays Center in 2012; more recently, billionaire Joseph Tsai bought the team and its arena for $3.3 billion. The team’s value has jumped 773% in the past decade, the third best of any team in the world.