Brooklyn Nets Owner Mikhail Prokhorov has reportedly been “warming” to the idea of selling his controlling stake in the franchise. Prokhorov has received interest and is placing a hefty price tag on the struggling franchise, reports Josh Kosman of The New York Post:
The basketball team owned by billionaire Russian Mikhail Prokhorov hoped to fetch around $2 billion, but we hear one interested party has been trying to box out others in the sale process.
A source told On the Money that Alibaba Executive Vice Chairman Joe Tsai has expressed an interest in the team, though reps for his family office, Blue Pool, deny it.
Reports suggest the Nets want to find a Chinese backer — not surprising given the success of Yao Ming with the Houston Rockets, which are also for sale.
The Post’s Josh Kosman reported last month that Mike Zavodsky, the Nets’ executive VP of global partnerships, was in China with 20 meetings lined up.
Prokhorov’s expectancy of a $2 million return has precedent; it’s the same amount of money that Steve Ballmer paid the disgraced Donald Sterling in exchange for the Los Angeles Clippers in 2014. The Nets, right now, are a struggling franchise; poor management decisions have led to the team being a bit of a laughingstock in recent years. Under new management, however, the team has managed to accrue some promising young talent and is in a much better position going forward. Buying low on the franchise makes sense right now, but it doesn’t sound as though Prokhorov is looking to sell at a low price. Despite the team’s struggles in recent years, the lofty price makes sense; the team is situated Brooklyn, a huge market.