Mikhail Prokhorov is dumping his 80% stake in the Brooklyn Nets, and not a moment too soon, according to some. Prokhorov has been pouring money into the team, trying to buy the best players, but the Nets’ performance has been awful. The Nets are the NBA’s most expensive team and is barely a playoff team in the Eastern Conference, Bloomberg reports. Prokhorov has Evercore Partners to help him find an appropriate buyer for the team. In addition to the declining fortunes of the Nets, Prokhorov is likely tightening his belt as the ruble and the Russian economy collapses.
According to the Washington Post, Prokhorov spent a lot of money on “aging, expensive veterans, ” like Gerald Wallace, Joe Johnson, Paul Pierce and Kevin Gannett. Before the Billionaire Russian owner got involved with handpicking talent, the General Manager, Billy King, was the one who selected players, and King had a way of finding the best players.
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Mike Ozanian of Forbes posits “Why is Russian billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov selling his majority stake in the Brooklyn Nets? Because Bruce Ratner cannot sell his minority stake.” Ratner has been trying to sell his stake, because neither Ratner nor Prokhorov own the Barclays Center, the site of the arena, which is publicly-owned. While Ratner controls the leasing, the two have to spend $50 billion in bond payments and rent, plus $15 million operating costs. The enterprise is not even profitable.