Posts Tagged ‘Brooklyn Nets’

While the Russian Olympic Committee has been banned from participating in the upcoming Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, the country’s far-reaching doping scandal appears to have found its way into NBA circles.

Brooklyn Nets and Barclay’s Center owner Mikhail Prokhorov has been accused of helping suppress evidence of doping by Russian athletes at the 2014 Games in Sochi, Russia, according to a report by The Wall Street Journal’s Ben Cohen and Nathan Hodge.

Grigory Rodchenkov, the former anti-doping lab chief who blew the whistle on Russia’s state-run doping program, testified that billionaire Prokhorov, a Russian citizen, bribed athletes with “millions of rubles” to keep the program under wraps.

Citing information relayed by Irina Rodionova, a doctor who helped facilitate the athletes’ steroid use, Rodchenkov claimed that biathlete Irina Starykh had considered exposing Russia’s drug programming before a bribe from Prokhorov bought her silence.

Both Starykh and a representative of Prokhorov have denied Rodchenkov’s testimony.

Prokhorov began the process of divesting from the Nets in October when he agreed to sell a 49 percent stake in the team to e-commerce mogul Joseph Tsai, with the expectation of transferring full ownership to the Alibaba co-founder within the next four years.

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D’Angelo Russell had a rocky first two NBA seasons with the Los Angeles Lakers. One aspect of that was inconsistency on the court, while others – like his video scandal with Nick Young – were his own fault.

Yet, as Russell returned to L.A. Friday night as a member of the Brooklyn Nets, he said Kobe Bryant’s swan song season in 2015-16 was another challenge – one he commends himself for dealing with.

“I went through a lot,” Russell told ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne. “Kobe’s farewell, everything. I went through a lot, so, just to overcome that, I salute myself for that.”

Not that he’s saying Bryant didn’t deserve the season-long feting.

“He deserved the attention he got,” he said. “No matter how I played, none of that was relevant. Kobe’s a legend. If he came back today that’d be the biggest story in the world.”

Bryant’s final season – capped by a 60-point explosion in his last game – was the worst in Lakers history. Russell’s struggles in that, his rookie year, also included then-coach Byron Scott benching him, and the aforementioned surreptitious filming of Young.

Russell also admitted Friday that Magic Johnson’s post-trade comments about the Lakers needing a leader “ruffled a few feathers,” according to ESPN’s Ohm Youngmisuk.

Since being traded from one coastal metropolis to another, Russell is essentially the face of the Nets.

 
Brooklyn Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov has reportedly agreed to sell a 49 percent stake in the team to Joseph Tsai, executive vice chairman and co-founder of Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski and Zach Lowe.

The sale of the team is reportedly based on a $2.3-billion valuation; at that rate, 49 percent of the team would cost the mogul over $1.1 billion. Tsai would retain an option to purchase controlling ownership of the Nets in four years.

Tsai is Taiwanese by birth, but has significant ties to North America. He went to high school in New Jersey and studied at Yale. He also holds Canadian citizenship. As a minority owner, Tsai will not have a role in the Nets’ basketball or business operations.

Prokhorov purchased 80 percent of the Nets for $200 million in 2010, relocating the team from New Jersey to Brooklyn two years later. He then purchased total ownership of the team and controlling ownership of the Barclays Center in late 2015 at a $1.7-billion valuation.

It was reported earlier this year that Prokhorov hoped to sell the team in a two-part plan after failing to auction off a minority stake. With the Houston Rockets selling to restaurateur Tilman Fertitta for a record $2.2 billion earlier this year, the timing has never been better for NBA owners to cash out of their investments.

Despite the Nets’ significantly higher valuation from just two years ago, Tsai’s ownership stake will reportedly not include ownership of the Barclays Center, which currently houses both the Nets and the NHL’s New York Islanders.

Since the start of the 2010-11 campaign, the Nets have amassed a regular season record of 201-342 – a .370 winning percentage – while racking up high luxury tax bills with teams built around past-their-prime veterans. They made the playoffs three times from 2013-15, making the second round in 2014.

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Fourteen of the NBA’s 30 franchises lost money last season before receiving revenue-sharing cash from the league, and nine of those teams still ended up in the red after that, according to confidential financial records obtained by ESPN’s Brian Windhorst and Zach Lowe.

The report appears to confirm suspicions that despite record income from national television contracts, some teams are having trouble turning a profit – and not just in small markets.

The nine franchises to reportedly come out in the red, by the league’s accounting, after revenue sharing are: the Atlanta Hawks, Brooklyn Nets, Cleveland Cavaliers, Detroit Pistons, Memphis Grizzlies, Milwaukee Bucks, Orlando Magic, San Antonio Spurs, and Washington Wizards.

The Spurs and Cavaliers may raise eyebrows given their combined runs of success, but it was already widely reported the Cavs lost $40 million during their 2015-16 championship season – due in part to a $54-million luxury tax bill.

At the end of the day, small cities such as Memphis and Milwaukee cannot compare to markets like Los Angeles. However, Brooklyn is part of New York City, and Washington and Atlanta rank as the nation’s seventh- and 10th-largest media markets, respectively.

At least one owner brought up the idea of expansion as a way to increase team income, the report states. An expansion fee – likely over $1 billion per team – would be divvied equally among NBA owners and not subject to the 50-50 basketball-related income split with players under the collective bargaining agreement.

Commissioner Adam Silver is on record as saying expansion is not a priority, although markets such as Seattle may be soon waiting in the wings for a new team. Relocating less profitable franchises is another option, something a handful of richer owners have suggested, according to Windhorst and Lowe.

The chasm between the NBA’s most profitable and weaker franchises will be discussed at the league’s next Board of Governors meeting at the end of September, sources told ESPN.

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Mikhail Prokhorov wants to offload the Brooklyn Nets but it hasn’t been easy.

Prokhorov was unsuccessful in his initial plans to auction a minority stake in the Nets, so his new strategy is to sell a controlling stake in two stages, according to Josh Kosman of the New York Post.

The plan would have the potential buyer first purchase a minority stake, then include an option to buy the entire franchise after three years, Kosman writes.

Prokhorov believes the Nets could sell for at least $2 billion based on the recent transactions in Houston ($2.2 billion) and Los Angeles ($2.1 billion).

The Barclays Center, where the Nets play, will still be retained by Prokhorov. However, rent may be lowered in order to entice a sale. Suitors are likely waiting on a new lease before proceeding with offers.

Alibaba executive vice chairman Joe Tsai is reportedly interested in purchasing the Nets, according to Kosman. There’s also a host of “Wall Street types” that are also keeping tabs on the situation.

Prokhorov purchased 80 percent of the New Jersey Nets for $200 million in 2010 and relocated to Brooklyn in 2012. That acquisition allowed him to build the Barclays Center, which quickly grew to become one of the top sports and concert venues in New York City. He eventually purchased full control of both the Nets and Barclays Center in 2015 for an additional $1.7 billion.

The Russian Oligarch promised to deliver a championship within five years of the team’s purchase, and promptly spent deep into the luxury tax for a host of former All-Stars. The execution of that strategy failed miserably as the Nets only have one playoff series win in seven seasons to show for Prokhorov’s bottomless spending.

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Having received little interest in minority shares, Russian owner Mikhail Prokhorov is now considering upping the ante and selling a majority stake in the Brooklyn Nets, according to The New York Post’s Josh Kosman and Brian Lewis.

After seeing the level of intrigue surrounding the Houston Rocets ever since their owner, Leslie Alexander, put the franchise up for sale, Prokhorov is reportedly hopeful there will be some parties who also give his Nets a look.

“As word gets out about the new Nets process, some of the Rockets interest may spill over,” an unnamed source said.

A group of Chinese investors has reportedly caught the eye of both teams. Houston still has an enormous fan base in that part of the world because of eight-time All-Star Yao Ming, while Brooklyn’s support is on the rise due to Jeremy Lin being on its current roster.

“Our brand in China is growing, in merchandise sales and commercially,” Nets CEO Brett Yormark told The Post.

With the Rockets reportedly looking for $2 billion in a sale, Prokhorov is seeking a similar valuation.

He initially bought an 80 percent stake in the Nets while they were situated in New Jersey, while also obtaining 45 percent in the Barclays Center. The team moved to Brooklyn in 2012, with Prokhorov eventually taking full control in 2015.

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Is Beyonce getting into formation to buy a piece of the Houston Rockets?

The pop star is reportedly considering an investment in the team, sources told Bloomberg’s Scott Soshnick.

A native of Houston, Beyonce Knowles-Carter could offer community ties to whoever takes over as the Rockets’ controlling owner, now that longtime owner Leslie Alexander has decided to put the team up for sale.

Her husband, rapper Jay-Z, famously owned a small percentage of the Brooklyn Nets, playing a pivotal role in their relocation from New Jersey in 2012. He was forced to sell his stake in the team in 2013 in order for his upstart sports agency, Roc Nation Sports, to be allowed to represent NBA players, per league rules.

It’s unclear if his ownership of Roc Nation Sports could impact Beyonce’s ownership bid with the Rockets, but there’s a second ramification that stems from Jay-Z’s tenure as an owner: the colloquially named “Jay-Z rule.”

The league’s board of governors passed a rule several years ago mandating that each minority stakeholder in a team must own at least one percent, with no greater than 25 individuals in an ownership group altogether.

With team valuations skyrocketing since Steve Ballmer purchased the Los Angeles Clippers for $2 billion in 2014, that limits the potential for small-stake figurehead owners from owning a piece of a franchise.

Therefore, if Beyonce wants to be a minority owner of the Rockets, and Alexander angling for at least $2 billion for the team, the “Crazy in Love” singer would pony up at least $20 million for a one percent stake. Forbes valued Beyonce’s net worth at $350 million earlier this year, but even still, the economics of the league are very different from even four years ago.

There will be much to consider and red tape to navigate for Beyonce if she’s serious about joining the NBA family.