In a story on Mikhail Prokhorov’s decade as Nets owner, Prokhorov’s top basketball adviser Sergei Kushchenko tells TASS the Russian oligarch initially looked at the Knicks and Suns as well as the Nets.
“Prokhorov started toying with the idea of purchasing an NBA team back in 2007,” said Kushchenko who was his GM at CSKA Moscow and member of the Nets board. “And in 2008, during the Summer Olympics in Beijing, we were already holding negotiations on this issue with NBA Commissioner David Stern.
”We were looking over various options at that time,” Kushchenko continued. “Among them were the New York Knicks, who asked for a bizarre sum, the Phoenix Suns and the New Jersey Nets. We decided to focus on the New Jersey Nets since it was a completely different market then in addition to the prospect of the new arena’s construction along with a full-fledged business framework.”
Another Nets insider told NetsDaily that it wasn’t only the price that turned Prokhorov off, but the Knicks debt load as well. (The insider also said the Grizzlies approached the Russians long before he bought the Nets.)
Prokhorov, on the other hand, found the Nets price “appealing,” he told TASS writer Andrey Kartashov.