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Prokhorov passes garter to Adam Silver

Ducks Out on Five-Year Marriage Vow, Talks Nets’ ‘Shift’ in Strategy

July 28, 2015 By John Torenli, Sports Editor Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov backed off on his promised nuptials, but still insists the franchise is chasing its first-ever NBA title with a new shift in strategy. AP photo
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If nothing else, Mikhail Prokhorov continues to keep us entertained.

The Nets’ Russian billionaire owner posted a brief and somewhat cheeky video message to Brooklyn basketball fanatics on the team’s web site Tuesday morning, discussing the franchise’s future going forward as well as his own marital status.

“Hello Nets fans,” Prokhorov, entering his sixth season at the helm of our borough’s first pro sports franchise since the Dodgers fled for Los Angeles in 1957, begins. “I wanted to take a minute to talk about where we are with the team and where we’re heading.”

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“First of all, we had a really good offseason,” Prokhorov notes. “Better than a lot of people expected. Without a lot of noise, we got a lot done. Brook [Lopez] and Thaddeus [Young] are staying with us, which gives us continuity in our frontcourt.

“Joe Johnson stays as a core player. We also have high expectations for Bojan Bogdanovic, who showed a real flash of brilliance in his first year on the Nets.”

Prokhorov, who promised upon taking the reins of the franchise that he would give up his single status if the Nets didn’t win a championship in his first five seasons on the job, found a clever way to back out on his deal.

He deftly passed the garter to NBA commissioner Adam Silver, who is rumored to be altar-bound with interior-designer girlfriend Maggie Grise.

“You may remember my promise to get married if we didn’t win a championship within five years,” Prokhorov deadpans in the video. “Sadly to say, five years have passed. And today, I am very happy to say that NBA commissioner Adam Silver has agreed to take the plunge in my place. Adam, you are a much better man than me. Thank you very much, and I wish you and your new bride every happiness.”

The Nets spent the summer re-signing Lopez and Young for a combined $110 million-plus and bid farewell to enigmatic point guard Deron Williams, saving the team $43 million in salary over the next two years via a $27 million buyout.

The moves gave general manager Billy King a chance to revamp the lineup in the hopes of building a team more capable of employing head coach Lionel Hollins’ style of basketball.

“Some of you have noticed a shift in our approach,” notes Prokhorov, who shelled out the highest team payroll in NBA history the past two seasons.

“You’ll see a team that is younger and more athletic this season. Our approach has been more strategic, while making all necessary moves to be set up well for the future. But one thing remains constant, and make no mistake about it. We’re here to win, and we’ll do whatever we can, together with all of you who are rooting for us.”

Prokhorov, who is rarely seen at Nets games due to his business interests abroad, spent most of last season deflecting rumors that he was looking to sell the team.

But recent reports indicate that the 50-year-old bachelor is actually trying to take over 100 percent ownership of both the team and the Barclays Center.

Whether he’s doing so to make even more on a potential sale, or just because he covets full command of the franchise is anyone’s guess.

The only thing we know for sure right now is that Prokhorov is much more interested in championship rings than wedding bands.

“To the Nets fans, have a best rest of the summer, and I will be seeing you soon,” he said in closing.

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The Nets also announced this week that they will host Fenerbahce Ulker Istanbul of the Turkish Basketball League for a preseason game on Oct. 5 at Barclays Center.

“We are excited to be hosting Fenerbahce, as it will be a reunion for Bojan Bogdanovic with his former team,” said King. “Our fans will have an opportunity to see one of the best coached teams in all of Europe when they come to Brooklyn.”

As a member of Fenerbahce, Bogdanovic led the team to the Turkish Basketball League Championship in 2013-14.  This past season, the club reached the finals of the Turkish Cup and the final four in the Euroleague.

The Nets’ complete preseason slate will be released at a later date.


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