Mikhail Prokhorov was in Pokljuka, Slovenia, this weekend for the Biathlon World Cup. He is the president of the Russian Biathlon Federation. While there, a reporter for SovSport, the leading Russian sports site, caught up with him and asked about the state of the Nets. This is a rough translation, derived from several machine translations. It's not guaranteed to be accurate, but we believe the sense of it is correct.
One of the hottest basketball stories recently is Mikhail Prokhorov’s purchase of the NBA’s New Jersey team. Taking advantage of the president of Onexim's arrival in Pokljuka, a correspondent for "Soviet Sport", Konstantin Boitsov, learned from Mikhail Prokhorov the latest news on this deal.
SovSport: In what state is your deal to buy the NBA’s New Jersey team?
Prokhorov: Most of the steps in this direction have already been made, and we expect to complete the transaction in the first quarter of 2010.
SovSport: According to recent reports, the deal has been completed. Is that true?
Prokhorov: I signed a document on the legal obligations of the parties, and we expect permission to complete the deal from the NBA. This is a mandatory procedure and the last obstacle to the purchase of the club. The decision must be made in early 2010 - when the NBA owners will vote.
SovSport: Do you sense any opposition to your plans to join the NBA?
Prokhorov: On the contrary, I was surprised by the almost unanimous support.
SovSport: New Jersey has had some ugly games, it turns out.
Prokhorov: I always thought it bad form to rejoice when someone loses. However, all these developments only reinforce the anticipation of our arrival.
SovSport: Do you watch the New Jersey games?
Prokhorov: Sometimes I watch.
SovSport: Have you formed some ideas of the future shape of the team?
Prokhorov: Do you think that I blindly buy? I can’t discuss specific names because everything that is connected with the players can't be discussed until the NBA Finals are over. However, in the next two years, 14 NBA superstars will be free agents. In addition, bad records last two seasons and a number of good trades have made our position in the draft very good - we can get two or three stellar newcomers. Finally, next year, we have the lowest payroll in the league. All this can not but give rise to some optimism.
SovSport: Will this be a Russian team? I do not only mean the leadership.
Prokhorov: If there are players and managers from Russia who will meet the requirements of the NBA, they will be eligible to play in this club.