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NBA execs wonder if Mikhail Prokhorov, Andrei Kirilenko have side deal

Mikhail Prokhorov NetsMany people were in disbelief about Andrei Kirilenko’s deal with the Brooklyn Nets from the moment terms of the agreement were reported on Thursday.

Kirilenko, who declined a $10.2 million option to remain with the Minnesota Timberwolves, agreed to a one-year contract with the Nets for the mini mid-level exception of $3.1 million. Though the market for him may not have been strong, many viewed the deal as a discount.

Yahoo! Sports’ Adrian Wojnarowski reports that he heard from several NBA executives who were highly suspicious of the deal and calling for an investigation. One Western Conference GM called the deal “brazen”; an owner said the league might have to punish the Nets if there’s a side deal; and an Eastern Conference GM called for a probe.

The San Antonio Spurs and Oklahoma City Thunder reportedly were interested in acquiring Kirilenko via sign-and-trade deals, but Minnesota was not accommodating. The market for AK47, who was reportedly seeking a multi-year deal for at least $8 million annually, dried up. It makes sense that Kirilenko would settle for less than $10 million per season — we even saw Monta Ellis settle for less than he wanted on his contract with the Dallas Mavericks — but not 70 percent less.

Sure, reuniting with former Utah Jazz teammate Deron Williams may have been appealing to Kirilenko, but the Russian baller has a history with Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov. He played for Prokhorov’s CSKA Moscow team in Russia in the past. Is it possible that Prokhorov is paying Kirilenko on the side in order to make up for the small salary? Let’s just say there is good reason for the suspicion.

Mikhail Prokhorov: If the Nets don’t win a title I’ll punish myself by getting married

Brooklyn Nets fans who are expecting big things from their team in the post-New Jersey era can rest assured knowing that the team’s owner feels the same. Mikhail Prokhorov expects the Nets to win a championship in the very near future. The Nets owner has vowed to deliver for the fans since he took over more than two years ago, and he took it a step further during a recent interview with Steve Serby of the NY Post.

“I have said that if the Nets don’t win the NBA championship within five years, I will punish myself by getting married,” Prokhorov said when asked if marriage is something he would consider one day. “We are in year three. So no one is more interested in winning a championship than yours truly.”

As for what he would be looking for in a woman if he were to be so unlucky, Prokhorov said the following.

“Beautiful, smart, sexy and makes a mean bowl of borscht.”

Although he clearly does not want to get married, it sounds like the Nets owner has very specific standards for what he is looking for in a wife. Prokhorov also confirmed that he will not be fulfilling this promise during the same interview, so who knows if he will really take the plunge should the Nets not win a title within the next few seasons.

When asked how soon he expects the Nets to win a championship, Prokhorov said “June.” Retaining Deron Williams and adding Joe Johnson should help, but I don’t think it makes the Nets better than the Heat or Celtics at the moment. Unless Brooklyn can prove it is better than those teams and others before the end of the 2014-2015 season, some lucky lady could be marrying into a boatload of money.

H/T SbB Live

Mikhail Prokhorov says he will rap with Jay-Z to open the Barclays Center

Mikhail Prokhorov has associated himself with the rap game for reasons beyond simply sharing ownership of the Nets with Jay-Z. Over the winter, a video surfaced that featured Prokhorov rapping with three other middle-aged Russian men. It was equal parts awful and awesome.

The $1 billion Barclays Center — the new home of the Brooklyn Nets — is set to open this fall and Jay-Z is planning to introduce the new venue to the world with a series of eight concerts in nine days. For obvious reasons, people want to know if Prokhorov will somehow be incorporated into the show. According to Daniel Massey of Crain’s New York Business (via Nets Daily), he says he is planning on it.

“Yes, I will rap at his concert,” Prokhorov wrote in an email. “I am in rehearsals now 10 hours a day and plan to demand joint billing.”

The brilliant rap put together by “Russian Federation” as they called it was dedicated to “Mr. Jay-Z.” I think it’s safe to assume Prokhorov isn’t rehearsing for 10 hours a day, but we can still keep our fingers crossed that he makes an appearance. We already know he has a tremendous sense of humor, so what better way to bring down the house and build the buzz about the new-look Nets than to have him take the mic? Make it happen.

H/T Ball Don’t Lie

Mark Cuban cautions Mikhail Prokhorov about potential fight, references WWE past

Mark Cuban has one response to Mikhail Prokhorov’s promise to “crush” the Mavs owner in a kickboxing fight: not so fast my friend.

The Nets owner said he would fight Cuban over free agent-to-be Deron Williams, who is likely to express interest in Dallas, but Cuban cautions Prokhorov.

“He obviously didn’t see me be the first in WWE history to put Sheamus on the mat,” Cuban told Tim McMahon. “He knows not what he gets himself into.”

Cuban was referencing the guest host appearance he made on “Monday Night Raw” in 2009 when he was thrown out of the ring by Sheamus.

Cuban can talk a good game, and I’m sure he would go dark side in a fight, but I’ll still take my chances with the Russian.

Mikhail Prokhorov says he’ll crush Mark Cuban in kickboxing over Deron Williams

Mikhail Prokhorov spoke to the media Tuesday at the construction site of the Barclays Center which will be the Nets’ new home in Brooklyn. Prokhorov has been somewhat of a mystery man since buying the team two years ago. Although he was initially vocal and present for some Nets games, he was consumed with running for presidency in Russia and became an absent figure. Luckily for us, he reignited his rivalry with Mark Cuban.

Asked about Mark Cuban’s Mavericks pursuing Nets point guard Deron Williams in free agency after the season, Prokhorov gave a classic response.

“Let the best man win. If he wins, I will crush him in kickboxing throwdown.”

I know Mark Cuban has a rugby background, and I don’t doubt his ability to fight dirty, but I’ll take the 6’8″ Russian in a clash. Can you just imagine if team conflicts were solved by opposing owners fighting in kickboxing throwdowns? It would be fantastic.

Between Cuban’s past comments about the Russian, and Prokhorov’s shot in return, there is no doubt this would be a heated affair.

Chest bump to Eye on Basketball
Photo Credits: Jim O’Connor-US PRESSWIRE, Jerome Miron-US PRESSWIRE

Mikhail Prokhorov Takes Shot at Mark Cuban While Complimenting Mavs

Since Mikhail Prokhorov has taken over as owner of the New Jersey Nets, he and Mavs owner Mark Cuban seem to have developed somewhat of a love-hate relationship.  The two teams aren’t rivals or anything, so the banter between them cannot be taken for much more than friendly word play.  In any event, the dynamic between them is entertaining.

Just a few short months after Prokhorov took the reins in New Jersey, Cuban was already criticizing the way he runs the team.  One of Cuban’s main issues with Mikhail’s style is that he rarely shows up to games.  As we told you before, the Nets seemed to play better in their owner’s presence, so Cuban may have been onto something.

Cuban remained unusually quiet throughout the entire postseason as he watched his Mavs go on to upset the Miami Heat and win the franchise’s first ever NBA Championship.  Finals MVP Dirk Nowitzki voiced his opinion about Marky Mark staying out of the spotlight during the run a few weeks back, and Prokhorov alluded to it as well on Thursday when he congratulated Cuban with a note.  Here is what the letter said courtesy of Nets Daily via SB Nation:

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Mikhail Prokhorov Is New Jersey Nets’ Good Luck Charm

The New Jersey Nets are one of the worst teams in the Eastern Conference, checking in with a 12-31 record on the year. Team owner Mikhail Prokhorov recently went public to say the team was no longer focusing on acquiring Carmelo Anthony, feeling like the talks were distractions. Maybe the guy was right. Or maybe his mere physical, imposing presence scares his team into playing harder.

The Nets beat the Pistons at home Friday night 89-74 for just their 12th win. The Pierogi stuck around following his media conference to watch his boys play for the second straight game, and they showed their boss what they can do once again. New Jersey has now won two in a row, and as I learned from the Newark Star-Ledger, improved to 5-1 in home games attended by The Pierogi.

Most teams play well at home so it’s natural that Pierogi’s record would be better than the team’s, but 5-1 is still impressive. And if they can manage a win over the Mavericks Saturday evening, the X-ray machines at the airport will no doubt find a horseshoe up his butt before he flies home to Russia.