Mikhail Prokhorov Rumors

A week earlier, just after 11 a.m. on July 1, the Nets arrived at the IMG building in downtown Cleveland as the first of six teams to meet with James. Out of one side of a Lincoln Town Car emerged Mikhail Prokhorov, the billionaire Russian oligarch who had bought the Nets less than two months prior. Out of the other side emerged Jay-Z. “It was a circus show,” said Avery Johnson, who had been hired to coach the team. “We were very excited. But in all honesty, we weren’t ready as an organization. And we were playing in Newark for the next two years — not New York. But Jay-Z really gave a great pitch. He appealed to their friendship and sold New York.”
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.
What’s your next move? Brett Yormark: I’m not going to announce it yet. I knew there was going to be an end to one chapter and the beginning of another. Ownership effectively told me last spring that (selling the majority share to Joe Tsai) was something they were contemplating. I extended my deal through December to provide oversight of the transaction. There was always a plan to leave with ownership. I’ve become very close to Mikhail Prokhorov and (board chairman) Dmitry Razumov. It would have been very tough for me to leave the company, knowing that ownership was going to stay on board. My goal is to announce where I’m heading in mid-September, assuming everything works out. I’m going to stay in sports and entertainment and look forward to build something and create value. It’s no different than what I did at NASCAR and BSE.
Albert Nahmad: It’s a fun but difficult exercise to try to figure what Mikhail Prokhorov profited from his investment in the Nets and Barclay’s Center. I spent a few minutes on it, and here’s what I’ve been able to come up with:

Storyline: Mikhail Prokhorov Selling Nets?
Albert Nahmad: It’s a fun but difficult exercise to try to figure what Mikhail Prokhorov profited from his investment in the Nets and Barclay’s Center. I spent a few minutes on it, and here’s what I’ve been able to come up with:

Storyline: Mikhail Prokhorov Selling Nets?
Prokhorov’s record as an NBA owner: 300-504. What Prokhorov will sell the team for, after acquiring it for $223 million, plus the team’s debt, in 2009: $2.35 billion. Said a longtime Nets official, “He went for it, tried to win a championship and left.” Prokhorov was a good NBA owner, at least by some measurements. “Part of his legacy,” says former Nets executive Bobby Marks, “is that he saved the Nets.” Indeed, Prokhorov took control of the Nets during a U.S. recession. The Barclays Center project—mired in expensive legal battles that ex-owner Bruce Ratner was struggling to afford—was on the brink of collapse. Enter Prokhorov, whose infusion of cash helped salvage the project.
“I wish I had more one-on-one, more direct contact with him,” says ex-Nets GM Billy King. “I had a lot of respect for him. I wish I had more direct conversations with him. He said that to me in our final meeting. In my past experience, when you can talk to your owner, you see their reaction, hear inflection. When you are dealing with him through somebody, you don’t get that. You wonder, did it have to be pushed to get to a go? Or what questions he asked to get to that point? That’s the one thing I didn’t get.”
Yormark will announce on Friday morning that he’s resigning as chief executive officer of BSE Global, the Nets’ parent company, said the person, who asked not to be identified because the decision hasn’t been made public yet. His departure comes as Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. Executive Vice Chairman Joe Tsai prepares to assume control of the Nets and Barclays Center from Russian billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov.
It makes sense that Yormark would exit along with Prokhorov, whose net worth is $10.8 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. Prokhorov entrusted much of his global sports operation to the executive. Tsai, whose net worth is $10.3 billion, is nearing completion of a deal to buy the 51% of the Nets he didn’t own. He previously bought 49% at a valuation of $2.3 billion, which is a record for a U.S. pro-sports franchise. He had until 2021 to exercise the option to take control of the club, whose already improved fortunes were buoyed this offseason with the acquisition of star free agents Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant.
Forbes estimates Tsai — the vice chair of Alibaba, the Chinese equivalent of Amazon — is worth $9.9 billion. The Taiwan native is known to speak positively of the Chinese government, sources said. But that is actually a plus for the NBA, which is seeking to grow its presence in China, sources have told The Post. Tsai is a member of NBA China, which conducts league business in that country, even though he doesn’t yet control a team.
The developmental culture replacement Sean Marks instilled has seen the Nets make the playoffs and made it easier for co-owners on different timelines to stay on the same page. “The thing that brings everything together is — credit to Mikhail — their organization brought in Sean Marks, and Sean Marks brought in Kenny Atkinson. Those are incredibly far-sighted decisions,” Tsai said. “They learned from their experience first coming into the Nets how hard it is to build a good team.”
Storyline: Nets Front Office
While he also holds an option to purchase control in 2021 — a source told The Post it’s for the entire remaining 51 percent — reports have suggested he might buy a share of Barclays Center from Mikhail Prokhorov as well. “I don’t know [if that will happen],” Tsai said. “But I would say this: If you talk to all the NBA owners, they all say it makes a lot of sense to combine the ownership of a team and the arena. There’s a lot of synergy. The fans do come into the building to watch the team play, so from a business standpoint it makes a lot of sense. I hope that I would have an opportunity. But it’s up to Mikhail Prokhorov, who owns the arena, to figure out what they want to do.”
Joseph Tsai, the billionaire co-founder of Alibaba, is in talks to buy Brooklyn’s Barclays Center and the new Nassau Coliseum in Uniondale from Russian billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov, The Post has learned. The negotiations are expected to pave the way for Tsai, 55, to become the new owner of the Brooklyn Nets NBA team, sources said.
Bullough does not write about Prokhorov specifically, but when we spoke by phone, he wonders if Prokhorov followed in the footsteps of Roman Abramovich, who bought one of the UK’s top soccer teams, Chelsea, in 2003. Famous Western sports brands achieve many goals for an oligarch. “Part of the reason,” explains Bullough, “is to get your money outside Putin’s control. Another reason is to make yourself partly a foreigner, sort of outside. And incrementally more difficult to kill.”
The fact that they’ve found a way to stay in lock-step, and not let their disparate timelines disrupt the organization — or Nets GM Sean Marks’ carefully crafted plans — is noteworthy. Marks claims the key is communication, presumably not the easiest thing with two billionaires — one based in Moscow and the other in Hong Kong. “That’s probably one of the greatest things about [them], and a credit to Mikhail and Joe. I haven’t noticed a differing of opinions. Both collaborate,” Marks told The Post. “I collaborate with them a lot. There’s no surprises. Just like within my group. I don’t like to hear surprises, they don’t like to hear surprises either.
Storyline: Nets Front Office
With the clock ticking on Prokhorov’s majority ownership, there could have been temptation for him to prod Marks to cut corners, like Billy King’s Boston deal. Or conversely for Tsai — still the executive vice chairman of the Alibaba Group — to balk at paying the luxury tax or any big free agent (such as Kawhi Leonard, Kristaps Porzingis) that would cost him dearly years before his majority ownership. But so far that hasn’t happened, both billionaires working in accord. “The ultimate goal for everybody is to win the whole thing,” Marks said. “So however you get there and whenever you get there, and whatever route you take, they’ve got to understand “Hey, this is in the cards.” If you look at what Mikhail’s done in the past, he’s not afraid to step up.
Specifically, Marks talked to ESPN 101.3 in Boston Monday about how the Nets did have a long-term plan in place that included a bid for Kevin Durant! He also offers a less-than- veiled criticism of Mikhail Prokhorov for not wanting to pay “substantial” luxury taxes after the 2013-14 season. Marks laid out the Nets thinking as they worked on the deal, noting Brooklyn was in a “win-now” mode and Boston wasn’t. It was Marks, then assistant GM to Billy King, and Mike Zarren, Danny Ainge’s No. 2, who handled the nuts and bolts of the deal. “I thought that when we did the deal, I thought we would have a championship level team in 13-14, would be a playoff team in 14-15 and then, when the cap spike came in 2016, we’d in a good position to get a Kevin Durant or one of these marquee free agents just based on past success and we were all wrong,” offered Marks. “We misjudged the trade big time.”
Storyline: Nets Front Office
The Russian whistleblower who revealed a widespread system of doping in the country is seeking to dismiss a lawsuit against him and filed a countersuit Monday in New York against Brooklyn Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov and three Russian biathletes. Attorneys for Grigory Rodchenkov, the former Moscow lab director, filed a motion to dismiss a libel lawsuit biathletes Olga Zaytseva, Yana Romanova and Olga Vilukhina filed in New York Supreme Court in February seeking $30 million in damages from Rodchenkov.
That lawsuit has been financed by Prokhorov, the billionaire oligarch who has publicly defended Russian athletes implicated in the system of doping Rodchenkov revealed. The countersuit aims to identify other backers of the lawsuit and seeks unspecified damages. “With today’s filings, the hunted becomes the hunter,” Jim Walden, Rodchenkov’s attorney, said in a statement. “Russia and its puppets have been persistently attacking Dr. Rodchenkov for too long, most recently with this frivolous lawsuit that parrots the Kremlin’s slander. Today’s legal action by Dr. Rodchenkov provides ample testament to the baseless nature of this Prokhorov-financed claim, which I believe was intended for the single purpose of attempting to locate Dr. Rodchenkov. In throwing this feeble punch, the plaintiffs and their oligarch financier should have better understood the laws of the state of New York, which fully protect Dr. Rodchenkov from attempts to use the courts as a means of retaliation and intimidation.”
This may be what Russian collusion looks like. Brooklyn Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov saw his stake in the team rise in value by 270 percent in just three years. His stake in 2015 appears to have been bought at an artificially low price. Forest City Enterprises in 2015 attempted to sell its 20 percent stake in the Brooklyn Nets, and the team’s controlling owner Prokhorov did not make it easy for it to find an outside buyer. He withheld financial information from prospective buyers, sources with direct knowledge of the deal said at the time.
Storyline: Mikhail Prokhorov Selling Nets?
The transaction provides Mr. Tsai an option to acquire further shares in 2021 and, if exercised, become the controlling owner of the team. The announced share sale does not include Barclays Center, which will continue to be wholly owned by Onexim Sports and Entertainment. The NBA Board of Governors unanimously approved the transaction.
Tsai, who has a home in LaJolla, California, sat courtside near the Nets bench with his family. It’s at least the third time he’s been seen at a Nets game since agreeing in principle to purchase 49.5 percent of the team from Mikhail Prokhorov. The reported price tag for the co-founder of Alibaba, the Chinese e-commerce giant: $1.13 billion. Under terms of the deal, as reported back in October, Tsai will assume ownership control of the Nets in 2022. Prokhorov would then become a minority stakeholder.
Storyline: Brooklyn Nets Sale
Nets officials have noted repeatedly over the last several months that Tsai, like Prokhorov, has bought into Marks long-term rebuild. In November, during a short back-and-forth between him and Bill Walton in Huangzhou, Tsai told the Hall of Famer that he expects his ownership to be “an interesting journey” and “a long-term project.” He also described Jeremy Lin, a Taiwanese-American, as his “favorite player.”