Aschburner: Nets Now a Player

NEW YORK - FILE: New Jersey Nets Owner Mikhail Prokhorov addresses the media during a press conference at the Four Seasons Hotel on May 19, 2010 in New York City. According to reports December 12, 2011, Prokhorov, a Russian industralist and owner of the New Jersey Nets NBA basketball team, has announced he will oppose Vladimir Putin for the Russian presidency. (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)

In a story written before the latest Dwight Howard rumors but with the knowledge of how things are changing (and fast) veteran NBA.com writer Steve Aschburner lists New Jersey/Brooklyn as a preferred destination for NBA free agents, in large part because of the transformation wrought by Mikhail Prokhorov.

In discussing why the Chicago Bulls are not on Howard's list, Aschburner goes through which teams are hot, starting with the most obvious: the Lakers, Knicks Heat and Mavericks (with the "flat-screen TVs, plush bathrobes and every other salary-cap skirting nicety" that Mark Cuban throws at players). Then, there's the Nets...

New Jersey is a player now, too, among key free agents. The Nets are owned by a Russian billionaire of mysterious means who might, for crying out loud, get himself elected president there. The grandiosity of it all has a natural appeal to NBA stars with self-conglomeration dreams. Besides, the Nets will be playing soon in trendy Brooklyn, which makes them a New York II franchise rather than, well, wherever it was they will have played for the past 35 years.

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