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Old 06-26-2009, 01:35 PM   #1
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Default Ratner may sell Nets?

Are the Nets for sale? Four groups are positioned to invest in the Nets, a highly placed source in the league office confided this week.

Two other league sources told me that minority owner Vincent "Vinny" Viola is moving to buy out majority owner Bruce Ratner and take control of the franchise.

But the senior-level source named Viola, the senior startegic advisor of the New York Mercantile Exchange, as one of four potential suitors, while adding that Ratner may remain involved with the Nets and could even retain majority status. "It's all up to negotiation," said the source, emphasizing that all the interest is based on the promise of the Nets' long-anticipated move from New Jersey to Brooklyn.

The most intriguing group of potential new investors is headed by the Russian oligarch Mikhail Prokhorov, who, until this season, was the financier of the Euroleague champion CSKA Moscow. The league source predicts that Prokhorov would survive the league's vetting process as a potential owner. Prokhorov is 6-foot-9 but didn't play basketball past elementary school. He was listed by Forbes last year as the 24th-richest man in the world, and his involvement with the Nets could eventually lead to the NBA arrival of Ettore Messina, the Italian coach who ran Prokhorov's CSKA teams.

Another potential investment group is headed by hedge-fund managers, while the fourth is drawn from the private equity field.

The potential sale of the Nets helps to explain the big move they made on draft day. They unloaded Vince Carter's remaining three years and $51 million to Orlando in exchange for three players, among whom only Courtney Lee will remain on the Nets' payroll in 2010-11 at a low rookie-scale salary of $1.4 million. Their payroll going into that season couldn't be more sparse, and they still have a 26-year-old All-Star point guard in Devin Harris. Coach Lawrence Frank will also be in the final year of his contract this season.

The Nets have long been rumored to be on the market. If a team is to be sold, then this often is how it's done: Remove as much furniture as possible so the new owner can remodel the place to his liking.

The cost-cutting played a role in the draft. Instead of going for forwards James Johnson or Tyler Hansbrough as rumored, they used the No. 11 pick on Terrence Williams as a potential replacement at shooting guard for Carter.
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Old 06-26-2009, 07:46 PM   #2
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Default Re: Ratner may sell Nets?

maybe prokhorov can be our backup PF.
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Old 06-26-2009, 07:58 PM   #3
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Default Re: Ratner may sell Nets?

I think we'd sign Slava Medvedenko and change the name to the New Jersey Rubles.
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