The numbers are indeed staggering. The Nets starting lineup next season will be paid $82 million next season, the first starting lineup in NBA history where all five starters make more than $12 million each (and with 35 All-Star appearances among them, it's hard to argue they're not each worth what they're being paid.) The luxury taxes will exceed $50 million next season, by some projections.
Is it profligacy on the part of Mikhail Prokhorov, whose long been criticized of spending just to prove he can, or a commitment to win, for himself ... and the fans? Increasingly, Prokhorov has been getting begrudging praise, that his commitment just could work.
Jeff Van Gundy was one of them who first wondered aloud about it all. Friday in an interview with ESPN Radio, JVG call the Nets starting five the best in NBA and praised Prokhorov for making it possible. Tim Bontemps transcribed it.
"I give the ownership of the Nets a lot of credit, because we always hear about luxury taxes and how they can’t afford to go over the luxury tax. "We often hear the word "can’t" be interjected where the word "won’t" is more descriptive.
"In this case, the Nets ownership put personnel for their team way ahead of profits. And, if you’re a fan, you have to understand how rare that is and you have to be excited about the opportunity. Now, if this turns out to be a championship run or not, you have to be excited about an ownership that will put the personnel of a team ahead of the profits of that same team.""
Rod Boone writes it's getting noticed
The Nets are in win-now mode. Prokhorov is unafraid, ready and willing to fork over millions in luxury taxes if that's what it's going to take to make good on his guarantees and keep his bachelorhood alive.
Not everyone agreed, of course. Steve Politi in the Star-Ledger and Henry Abbott of ESPN think the Nets have gone the route in seeking a championship, that Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett are too old to be counted on.