Friday, November 20, 2009

Newark Mayor Booker again cautious about permanent Nets move, enthusiastic about temporary one

As he did during last month's radio appearance, Newark Mayor Cory Booker last night steered clear of any prognostication about a permanent move of the Nets to Newark but focused on a temporary one.

He spoke during his monthly Newark Today with Cory Booker show on WBGO. The discussion (starting about 46 minutes in) focused on the Nets moving to the Prudential Center for a season or two before a potential move to Brooklyn.

Host Andrew Meyer noted that expected new owner Mikhail Prokhorov has been reported (secondhand) as being open to buying the team at a reduced price and keeping the team in Newark. "Nets management still says the [permanent] Jersey option is moot," said Meyer. "What's the reality now?"

"The reality is we're in a powerful negotiation right now that [outgoing Gov.] Jon Corzine has brought down to the two-inch line before we can score the touchdown, which is, an agreement between the Nets, Izod Center, and Newark, to heal the wounds," Booker said, "to set a new arrangement with the Devils, which will significantly increase the revenue Newark will get... and stop having two arenas competing with each other."

The state would have to waive a penalty imposed on the team's move to Newark, but--according to reported negotiations--the Izod Center would apparently get concerts previously scheduled in Newark.

Temporary move

"As for the Nets, the discussion is moving the Nets to Newark for a season or two until it can built over in Brooklyn," Booker continued. "Now, will that building in Brooklyn go up or down? I do not care to say right now or predict what I think will happen."

"And if they don't build the [new Brooklyn arena]?" asked Meyer.

"Then we have a chance to keep the team," Booker said. He did not say, as he has done in the past, that Newark-based investors were ready to scoop up the team. Maybe everyone's been scared away by Prokhorov.

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