“I could have been a contender. I coulda been somebody, ” are Marlon Brando’s unforgettable words from On the Waterfront. Perhaps Mikhail Prokhorov, who announced he is going to sell the Brooklyn Nets, has a similar feeling. He tried to spend to win, but that didn’t work out for him or the Nets.
Michael Lee, the NBA writer for the Washington Post thinks that Prokhorov spend to win strategy was never going to work. Prokhorov thought if he paid up enough for excellent players, he would have a winning team, but Lee thinks the Brooklyn Nets should have grown organically, slowly and steadily. It wasn’t necessary, according to Lee, to buy expensive players to please fans. Brooklyn had not had a professional sports franchise in over 50 years, so they would have been satisfied with just about anything, or rather, watching a small sapling of a team grow into a tree in Brooklyn.
Coach Lionel Hollins spoke to The New York Post and while he expressed muted hope about the rest of the season, his remarks communicated disappointment, “I have a pretty good sense of who we are, but we’ll just keep battling. I’m not going to tell you exactly who we are, but I do know and I understand it perfectly … I thought we would be much better.”
The Brooklyn Nets reach mid-point in the season with 17-24 and have lost 8 of their 9 last games. In addition, the huge $90.4 million payroll just adds to the burden of defeat.