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For our Russian readers...

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For our Russian readers...

Postby NetIncome » Fri Aug 06, 2010 8:21 pm

the original pages of the Forbes Russia profile of Prokhorov. It is all about the Nets and very little of it was translated and excerpted by the Nets.

Among things in there, I am told, are comment about how he isn't currently interested in Kirilenko at least not while he is making $17 million.

http://pics.livejournal.com/md_prokhorov/pic/0005erws

http://pics.livejournal.com/md_prokhorov/pic/0005ga66

http://pics.livejournal.com/md_prokhorov/pic/0005fp3x

http://pics.livejournal.com/md_prokhorov/pic/0005h8dx

http://pics.livejournal.com/md_prokhorov/pic/0005k3eh
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Re: For our Russian readers...

Postby Ast » Sat Aug 07, 2010 1:20 am

Please forgive any spelling errors or typos. It's late :-)

Q: When did you first thought of buying an NBA club?
A: Our dreams began in 2003-2004 in the "kitchen talks" - it's cool to own an NBA club. They became real when we heard rumours of Cablevision, owner of MSG, Knicks and Rangers, was in dire financial strains. Some of our own financial bankers said that Cablevision will soon fall apart, and there will be a possibility of purchasing.

Q: How did the Nets deal came about:
A: The same people told us. Called and said that there's availability of purchasing a club that's moving from NJ to NY. After that, Ratner visited Moscow, we talked with him about a deal.

Q: Did you get any other offers?
A: Understand that when you live in Moscow, you want a club that's located in a similar style of city. New York exhibits same energy as Moscow - you feel like you're in the same environment. I did not look at other places.

Q: Give us the details of the deal. There was a supposition that it was the real estate that was your primary target, and the New Jersey Nets was a burden you'd have to absorb.
A: When we were reviewing this project, we envisioned that the team, with right direction, is a business in itself. This is why our idea was to buy the team and enter the development project in parallel. We calculated that we need to own a part of the arena, where the team will play. This is why I own 45% of the Barclays Center. From the point of view of everything else - I have an option to buy 20% of Atlantic Yard project. Honestly speaking, we looked at it, but as of it now did not research the option in depth. I do not know if we will exercise the options at this time.

Q: How did you manage to convince the league to buy the Nets? What's your trump card?
A: There was no trump card. That's an over exaggerated story. I have absolutely see-through business - everything is sitting on web sites. It's easy to understand what I own. But when a first foreigner comes, obviously the news give greater attention to what happens. Any said word has high emotional interest. It's part of a game.

Q: When compared to other North American leagues, the NBA has the smallest number of new teams that win the championship. What can you and your new team offer the league, considering the reputation of russian businessmen who take out their fat wallets and buy everyone and everything.
A: I told American that I came in peace, and I think, they believed me. In reality, I do not agree with their way how the same teams win over and over. The competition is very tough, but just like in any other business, a lot depends on the professionalism of the management. Take for example San Antonio Spurs. It's called the school of Gregg Popovich. They won 4 out of last 12 titles. But most importantly, he created a dynasty of managers and coaches. By the way, our coach that we hired also went through the Popovich school. Here is a blend of several factors. First, I think, we have the right strategy - we're the 2nd team in NY. It's a huge metropolis - 26million people. It's a huge amount of tourists. We're already very lucky that we got a team that's soon moving to NY. Basketball teams historically capitalize well. I am hoping that what I bought for $200M will be worth more than $1B in 5 years. We entered this deal in the precisely right time.
Second - you absolutely need professional management, from front office to the coaching staff. We have different variations. We simply need to find the best people and let them work. The goals we set previously do not change: from next season we must get into the playoffs.

Q: Are you not afraid of always following the Knicks' footsteps, just like it's happening in LA with Clippers and Lakers?
A: I think that the circumstances in LA are greatly different from the circumstances in NY. Brooklyn, say Americans, is its own separate country. It's the center of immigration. They have unique energy. Many millions of people who now reside in the USA went through Brooklyn. When I was in various cities, people came up to me and said: "We are Brooklynites, give us the Nets and we will cheer for them". I think that Nets have a unique chance of becoming an All-American team because many people went through Brooklyn. No other team has a fan club outside of their own state. I think we will be the first ones who will try to create fans across America. It will be a unique concept - a whole country of fans. In the first stage we will be opening fan clubs in nearby states. this will be right and will strongly position the team.

Q: What will be the team's name after the move to Brooklyn?
A: I can not tell right now, but the documents are already submitted to the NBA office. The name change will happen in 2012 season.

Q: How are you planning on financing the team?
A: The structure of the deal is that prior to the move to Brooklyn, we are planning a certain deficit - it's built into the deal. From the moment the team moves to Brooklyn, it will make money.

Q: How much income will it generate in 2 years?
A: About $20M, that's a conservative estimate.

Q: Are you planning on going beyond the luxury tax line?
A: These are two different concepts - team generating money and whether or not I'm paying luxury tax. Many things can change with the new CBA.
But am I not expecting to go over the cap.

Q: How did you choose the head coach?
A: We had several candidates, but we decided that Avery was the best one. First, he has the highest winning percentage in history of the NBA. Second, he's very hungry for big wins. We saw eye to eye with him there. Another important thing - because we have so many young players, we needed a "coaching coach", a coach who knew could develop young players into the next level. Avery is that coach.

Q: Legendary coach Phil Jackson, when asked about his jobs, said that the Nets may be an interesting project for him...
A: ... and that he really wants to drink some vodka with me. But I don't drink vodka, that where the problem is. Maybe that's why it didn't happen. By the way, it's another stereotype - if you're russian, you're a drunk. We will be breaking the stereotypes.

Q: What stereotypes have you experienced from the league?
A: Don't know. I'm comfortable, never had a problem.

Q: For you, is this strictly a business project, or also an image [reputation]?
A: When you're talking about the business of sport, you're always mixing in some passion and love. This is exactly why you need to be extremely accurate, so your passion for basketball does not outweigh your business objectives. This depends on my own balance of interests. Here I will be judging myself very harshly.

Q: What is your strategy for building a championship team?
A: You can become a champion quickly - that's our plan A, or you can build one gradually, that's our plan B. Plan A implies getting one or two superstars - Lebron, Wade and/or Bosh. Also, from all the players who became agents, we were only interested in them. We started realizing this strategy early - clearing salaries. But even on July 3rd I had an understanding that we needed to go for plan B - slowly, through 5 years building a new team. In the current stage of the plan, we're taking "not bad" players, whom we can later trade. For example, someone like Amare Stoudamire, who went to play for the Knicks, would be very difficult to trade later - he makes 17M. We want flexibility - we want strong players, but those that you can call "tradable asset". This is why right now we're calmly executing our 5 year plan. If just needed a team that was one of the best 5, the strategy would have been much simpler, but we wanted a championship team.
A good example - Detroit Pistons, 2004 champs. If you look at it, the team had no stars, but you had a star team. Our plan B resembles this model most closely. When we do not have extremely high salaries, but the players are matched well and is very deep, with a great bench.

Q: Yes, but every team in the league probably has this plan. What makes you think that you will succeed?
A: Why would you start it if you think it wont work?

Q: Detroit Pistons played a boring game. And a boring game means less fans, smaller TV ratings...
A: You're separating plan A and B. I do not have walls between the two models. In plan B, we grow megastars, and they start to develop the team by plan A. One does not exclude the other. When you're working in show business, of course you need stars. But everything is diffrent in a way. You can sell one star, or you can sell several people who are the stars when they are together.

Q: How did your negotiations with Lebron, Bosh and Wade go?
A: The meetings took place in Cleveland and Chicago. I met each player separately. We told each of them our vision. Chris Bosh for example, said our presentation was the most impressive. But when I analyzed their objectives, I understood that for all of them right now, the basketball part is the most important one. Even more so now that have a possible lock-out looming on the horizon. It seems that within these parameters, they wanted to play in Miami more, despite showing serious interest in our presentation.

Q: You're saying that James, Bosh and Wade believe that there will be a lockout. Do you believe this to?
A: It's difficult for me to tell. But we analyzed the concept of the league. if you look at the business structure of the NBA as a whole, it looks very strong and correct. But if you look at balance of clubs separately, then they all lose between $200-400M, and that can not happen for much longer.
It seems to me that current system does not accurately reflect reality. There's definitely something to discuss there.

Q: Did Jay-Z, Lebron's friend and your junior partner, try to help convince Lebron?
A: Jay-Z was with us, in a way. Him and Lebron have a normal friendship. He truly tried to help sell the team. But this is not a russian or a european market, you have serious competition here. This is why I have higher enthusiasm. In a way, the road to the title does not go through one plan. We even have a "Plan C".

Q: And what does plan C include?
A: That's a secret right now. It's what you call "element of surprise from Russian". But right now we will not be using it, our plan B is successfully moving along.

Q: What did you tell superstars during your presentation?
A: We made a detailed presentation, starting with how the club will develop in the global economy, to strictly basketball themes. We are planning on making the Nets the first global brand, using that I'm the first foreign owner of an NBA club. We want to create the same world wide fan clubs that exist for Manchester United and Real Madrid.

Q: Not really clear why I, who am in Russia, should cheer for New Jersey Nets?
A: Do you know what percent of people at stadiums are die-hard sports fans? 12% versus 88%. All others come there because it's cool and fun. Our objective is to attract this 88% - others will be there no matter what. This is why every separate country will sell their own story of New Jersey Nets. If the NBA as a whole is a world brand, then right now there is no club in the league which lives by laws of a world brand. But they exist in soccer - Manchester United, Real Madrid. Chelesea is slowly walking the same path. Number of NBA viewers - 2 billion, ssoccers = 4 billion. Despite this, 20 years ago soccer had world-wide brands, and basketball didn't. Why can't the Nets become the first?

Q: In the next year ends the contract of Andrei Kirilenko, the only russian player in the league. Are you going to ask him to join the team?
A: Let's wait until next year. Andrei is currently making $17M.

Q: In general, you're aiming to save money when acquiring new players?
A: I'm aiming to pay their fair price.

Q: After your acquisition of an american basketball team, there was a lot of Russian criticism saying that you should have used this money to develop basketball in our own country.
A: One does not hinder the other, it's the other way around. You can hardly say that I have not been patriotic to our [russian] sports: I've supported, support and will continue to support it. Besides biathlon, I have a working fund which supports young talented sportsmen. From the point of view of the NBA, we already said that we want to use experience and availability of certain technologies. Out of 100% of sportsmen who finish russian basketball schools, only 1% end up next to a basketball. The other 99% go "into the sand". If we have a strong student league, there's a high chance that out of that 99% we will find good players. Owning an NBA team will give us a chance to move forward the system of preparing young players from the dead place where it's at now. We're severely lagging behind in developing basketball in youths and teenagers. It's not an accident that besides Kirilenko we do not have any other player who can play in the NBA.

Q: If in 5 years the market cap of the Nets hits $1Bln as you expect, but the team does not win a championship and someone offers to buy the team from you, would you agree? Let's say I make you an offer.
A: Then make the offer right now. I'll only accept it right now.
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Re: For our Russian readers...

Postby NetIncome » Sat Aug 07, 2010 6:54 am

Bless you!
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Re: For our Russian readers...

Postby Vuchato » Sat Aug 07, 2010 7:22 am

Interesting, looks like the name will change.
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Re: For our Russian readers...

Postby danxcr` » Sat Aug 07, 2010 7:58 am

LOL "Plan C" its the surpise from Russia! :) Is he going to clone MJ?!?!
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Re: For our Russian readers...

Postby NetIncome » Sat Aug 07, 2010 8:22 am

Vuchato wrote:Interesting, looks like the name will change.


That's my headline too. Waiting for a comment and will then post it on the news side.

Interesting that the name change was not among the excerpts released by the team last week.
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Re: For our Russian readers...

Postby mb4th » Sat Aug 07, 2010 9:21 am

I hope he reveals it soon. I hate the media's stupid non-funny suggestions


How does the timing coincide w/ his supposed announcement in October or November?
"First I got to get big like Dwight Howard, Im gonna do that"



"We also have Anthony Morrow he’s one of the best for three-point throws. It’s very important for our team. "
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Re: For our Russian readers...

Postby NetIncome » Sat Aug 07, 2010 9:32 am

Many, many thanks to Ast. We have posted the interview crediting him and linking to this thread. I expect this will get picked up widely.
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Re: For our Russian readers...

Postby kdub » Sat Aug 07, 2010 12:01 pm

Tremendous work Ast!

That was a very enjoyable read, thank you.
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Thanks Universe!
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Re: For our Russian readers...

Postby Eduardo's Empanada » Sat Aug 07, 2010 12:43 pm

I didn't read any of this yet, just the name change part.
GO NETS!!! you Mikhail, GO NETS!!! you!
I'm GO NETS!!! ing sick right now. :evil:
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Re: For our Russian readers...

Postby YehYeh » Sat Aug 07, 2010 12:48 pm

A good example - Detroit Pistons, 2004 champs. If you look at it, the team had no stars, but you had a star team. Our plan B resembles this model most closely. When we do not have extremely high salaries, but the players are matched well and is very deep, with a great bench.

To me, this is the most significant quote from Prokhorov, besides his comments on Avery. He has a well-thought-out plan. Let's hope he sticks to it and succeeds.
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Re: For our Russian readers...

Postby danxcr` » Sat Aug 07, 2010 1:05 pm

GO Ast! And I like how he really believes in his plan.
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Re: For our Russian readers...

Postby Eduardo's Empanada » Sat Aug 07, 2010 2:42 pm

YehYeh wrote:A good example - Detroit Pistons, 2004 champs. If you look at it, the team had no stars, but you had a star team. Our plan B resembles this model most closely. When we do not have extremely high salaries, but the players are matched well and is very deep, with a great bench.

To me, this is the most significant quote from Prokhorov, besides his comments on Avery. He has a well-thought-out plan. Let's hope he sticks to it and succeeds.

This is not a good plan. It's a terrible plan. That Pistons team was an absolute anamoly.
You need superstars to win, period, end of story.
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Re: For our Russian readers...

Postby cpawfan » Sat Aug 07, 2010 6:50 pm

Eduardo's Empanada wrote:This is not a good plan. It's a terrible plan. That Pistons team was an absolute anamoly.
You need superstars to win, period, end of story.


You're separating plan A and B. I do not have walls between the two models. In plan B, we grow megastars, and they start to develop the team by plan A. One does not exclude the other.


Homegrown mega-stars with complimentary pieces. The Nets have the raw "materials" in place to have a dominate, "stared" front court with Brook and Favors.
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Re: For our Russian readers...

Postby mb4th » Sat Aug 07, 2010 6:57 pm

You know what, maybe Melo wont sign that extension.

Him and all these young stars are thinking about hooking up and theres nothing in Denver for him.

I still think hed go w/ the Knicks over us but I hope he considers the talent on the floor.
"First I got to get big like Dwight Howard, Im gonna do that"



"We also have Anthony Morrow he’s one of the best for three-point throws. It’s very important for our team. "
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Re: For our Russian readers...

Postby danxcr` » Sun Aug 08, 2010 7:23 am

Or considers we are moving to his and Lala's birth borough. And I know they grew up as Knick fans, but when they were born there wasnt an NBA team in Brooklyn, in 2 years there will be.
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Re: For our Russian readers...

Postby NetIncome » Sun Aug 08, 2010 9:45 am

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zoaYNl_hMTA

More Russian Media...a SIX MINUTE discussion of the Nets on the Russian version of ESPN, complete with video of Johnson working out at CSKA Moscow training facility with the Russian version of Josh Boone.

Ast, HELP.
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Re: For our Russian readers...

Postby mb4th » Sun Aug 08, 2010 10:58 am

Does this help in the NY/Brooklyn debate?


Q: Are you not afraid of always following the Knicks' footsteps, just like it's happening in LA with Clippers and Lakers?
A: I think that the circumstances in LA are greatly different from the circumstances in NY. Brooklyn, say Americans, is its own separate country. It's the center of immigration. They have unique energy. Many millions of people who now reside in the USA went through Brooklyn. When I was in various cities, people came up to me and said: "We are Brooklynites, give us the Nets and we will cheer for them". I think that Nets have a unique chance of becoming an All-American team because many people went through Brooklyn. No other team has a fan club outside of their own state. I think we will be the first ones who will try to create fans across America. It will be a unique concept - a whole country of fans. In the first stage we will be opening fan clubs in nearby states. this will be right and will strongly position the team.
"First I got to get big like Dwight Howard, Im gonna do that"



"We also have Anthony Morrow he’s one of the best for three-point throws. It’s very important for our team. "
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Re: For our Russian readers...

Postby NetIncome » Tue Aug 10, 2010 8:40 pm

mb4th wrote:You know what, maybe Melo wont sign that extension.

Him and all these young stars are thinking about hooking up and theres nothing in Denver for him.

I still think hed go w/ the Knicks over us but I hope he considers the talent on the floor.


If he doesn't sign that extension, the Nuggets said they will entertain offers for him. The Nets have as good a chance as anyone to get him once the Nuggets start sifting through the offers. It's a risk he won't resign, but if there is a lockout, the Nets will have plenty of time to persuade him and the lockout won't stop Barclays Center from being completed by 2012. The Knicks can't trade any first round picks until 2014. The Nets have five they can offer in that same period: one in 2011, two in 2012, one in 2013, one in 2014.
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