The USA World Cup finalists roster currently includes 13 players — Harrison Barnes (Sacramento Kings); Jaylen Brown (Boston Celtics); Joe Harris (Brooklyn Nets); Kyle Kuzma (Los Angeles Lakers); Brook Lopez (Milwaukee Bucks); Khris Middleton (Milwaukee Bucks); Donovan Mitchell (Utah Jazz); Mason Plumlee (Denver Nuggets), Marcus Smart (Boston Celtics); Jayson Tatum (Boston Celtics); Myles Turner (Indiana Pacers); Kemba Walker (Boston Celtics); and Derrick White (San Antonio Spurs).
Tsai, the co-founder and vice chair of Alibaba, became the new owner of the Nets on Friday in a deal that cost $2.35 billion over two years— the most ever paid for a sports team. The median value of an NBA team today is about $1.75 billion, sports bankers said, which means Tsai paid a hefty premium even though the Nets barely make a profit. Tsai, 55, went forward with the deal anyway because he wanted a New York City team and it was the only one for sale, a source familiar with his thinking said.
Storyline: Brooklyn Nets Sale
Tsai is also banking on the NBA’s international growth, especially in China where he has deep ties, sources said. In just one sign of how hot China is getting for the NBA, tech company Tencent Holdings last month announced a five-year expansion of its existing digital media partnership with the basketball league. And it agreed to pay $1.5 billion for the rights — or triple the previous price of $500 million, a source said. China’s demand for the NBA — and the Nets specifically — could grow exponentially if Tsai were to recruit a Chinese player, which he has said he wants to do. “I think it’s just a matter of time,” he told Netsdaily.com in May.
The Nets won’t start training camp for about six weeks, and the regular season for another month after that. But they’re clearly trying to get a head start, gathering on their own to work out en masse. Much of the roster spent the past few weeks gathered almost 3,000 miles away from Brooklyn, building chemistry with informal workouts in Los Angeles. It’s noteworthy that it was newcomer Kyrie Irving — whose leadership skills were questioned when he played in Boston — who led the way.
Considering the considerable turnover on the Nets roster — all the aforementioned players except Pinson, LeVert and Dinwiddie are newcomers — it’s auspicious that they’re working out together to develop chemistry. It’s even better that it’s both player-driven and organized by Irving. “It’s good. It gives us a little head start going into camp. Just getting not just on the court and [basketball-wise], but off the court also: playing ‘[NBA] 2K’, going to dinner and stuff like that. It’s been fun,” Pinson said.