Tuesday, February 22, 2011

As Nets lose out to (high-paying) Knicks in Anthony trade, Prokhorov takes some hits; goodbye, Devin Harris, face of EB-5 flackery?

Well, Bruce Ratner has convinced Daily News columnist Denis Hamill (who conveniently forgot about affordable housing and permanent jobs) of the importance of the in-construction Barclays Center arena, it's a tougher sell for Nets majority owner Mikhail Prokhorov, who lost to the Knicks (who paid dearly in a turf war with the Nets) in the trade for departing Nuggets star Carmelo Anthony.

Writes the Daily News' Mitch Lawrence, in Mikhail Prokhorov is all talk, no action, lets Carmelo Anthony slip through Nets' fingers to Knicks:
There's no other way to sum it up: Monday night was another bad night for the Nets under Prokhorov.

Just as last July was a bad month for the Nets' owner, when the Knicks got Amar'e Stoudemire and he got Travis Outlaw.

Prokhorov likes to tweak his counterpart, Garden chairman Jim Dolan. He likes to put up billboards across the street from the Garden, challenging the Knicks. He likes to send statements out of Moscow saying he doesn't want the Nets to become the Knicks, he wants them to become the Lakers.

Prokhorov is all talk. No action.

Under Prokhorov, the Nets haven't done a thing.

It's not entirely Prokhorov's fault. He goes to see superstars like James last July and Anthony in Los Angeles over the weekend and all he can give them is Brooklyn as an idea. There's nothing in Brooklyn now for the best players in the game to come to. Maybe when the arena is finished, that's when Prokhorov will be able to convert his vast fortune into some NBA superstars.

But not yet.
Record columnist Tara Sullivan, in Russian’s tactics backfire, writes:
Prokhorov came to America with a bold plan to crash the NBA’s elite party in record time, promising a title within five years. He tried to make us believe he didn’t care about the specter of the Knicks, taking multiple opportunities to dismiss any notion of being in their shadow. But after twice reneging on his promise to pull out of the negotiations for Anthony when it became painfully obvious Carmelo wanted no part of a long-term deal, Prokhorov allowed himself to be pulled back in.

...But the Knicks got the last laugh.

No matter how Prokhorov spins this as something positive, we’re not buying. He blew into New Jersey and promised nothing short of world basketball domination. He talked of building a global brand, a team that will take its New Jersey fan base, move it to Brooklyn, and build a team to rival the much-more-popular Knicks.

He declared his intention to sign big-time free agent stars, to ultimately overshadow his big-time neighbors across the Hudson. He planted his egotistical “blueprint for greatness” billboard in the Knicks’ backyard, and then answered their taunts that he’ll never be like them with a dismissive retort that he’d rather be like the Lakers anyway.

...The Nets, with one foot in Newark and the other in Brooklyn, remain in the shadows with their cast of pawns.
Writes New Jersey Newsroom's Mike Vorkunov, in As Nets miss out on Carmelo Anthony, owner Mikhail Prokhorov left standing by:
It may be taking a while but Prokhorov is slowly learning the cardinal rule of the NBA, that wealth and ego can only take you so far because here the players run the show.

Prokhorov may have thought that his swagger and money would be enough to turn this franchise around but it does not seem like he counted on what awaited him. He may have expected to come in and woo LeBron or impress ’Melo but by now he should have learned his lesson that in this league it doesn’t work that way.

That is why his is the biggest name in the Nets organization, not any players who can fill up the marquee outside the Prudential Center. It’s not the business world where rationale may rule, it’s one where egos and over-abundant self-worth rule and Prokhorov will always be second in that regard to the players he is chasing after.

The Nets can move to a state-of-the-art arena in Newark while waiting for one of their own in Brooklyn and they can parade around efforts to become the world’s NBA team but that is all for show. At this point all they have are ideas and plans and no execution.

That’s how the first year of the Prokhorov regime has gone.
Goodbye, Devin?

Meanwhile, the Nets appear ready to deal guard Devin Harris, who, after star point guard Jason Kidd had departed, less than two years ago was touting the move to Brooklyn and then saw his charitable efforts get a promotional push.

Harris and center Brook Lopez were used to promote the effort to get immigrant investors to put $500,000 each into the questionable "Brooklyn Arena and Infrastructure Project."

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