Thursday, January 20, 2011
Nets Say "Nyet!"
Mikhail Prokhorov can unfurl his portrait murals on the sides of Manhattan skyscrapers and marvel over the construction of his new basketball palace in Brooklyn. The Russian billionaire can promise championship parades within five seasons and employ exhaustive research to dispose of the Nets moniker and unwrap something new to call his franchise.
Only, there’s no scrubbing away the residue of decades of dysfunction and disarray with the fresh paint job. There’s no scrubbing it all away with carefully orchestrated news magazine profiles. Prokhorov isn’t the NBA’s most mysterious man, but one more clumsy, clueless creation of the commissioner’s endless failure to resurrect this franchise. All his money and clout and global reach, and yet Prokhorov and his posse look like one more incompetent ownership group killing time and brain cells until the lockout.
It was a stunning, senseless and perfectly fitting performance for Prokhorov on Wednesday night at the Prudential Center: As full-of-it grandstanding ploys go, Prokhorov was brilliant. Once he sensed the Nets couldn’t convince Carmelo Anthony(notes) to sign a contract extension, that his trip to the Rockies would be met with one more failure as owner, he made a dramatic declaration the Nets were done recruiting a deal and out of the running for Anthony.