In Miami and elsewhere, Mikhail Prokhorov's spending is getting noticed

Debby Wong-USA TODAY Sports

Over the weekend, the Heat beat writers for the Miami Herald and South Florida Sun-Sentinel alerted their readers that Mikhail Prokhorov is targeting LeBron James, Dwyane Wade et al with his spendthrift ways and worried that it could work, both in preventing a three-peat and driving a wedge between Pat Riley and ownership.

Winderman of the Sun-Sentinel compares what the Nets did in assembling their own superteam with the Heat decision to amnesty Mike Miller. The move was aimed at reducing the Heat's luxury tax this year, cutting a projected $30 million bill in half. Pat Riley didn't want to do it, having said he wanted to bring everyone back. But Micky Arison, with a net worth half of Prokhorov's, made the call. Winderman says Miller's amnesty is "not where the lines are drawn" between RIley and Arison, but watch this space. LeBron is.

"What Mikhail Prokhorov proved willing to do for the Brooklyn Nets in no way is related to what the Miami Heat wouldn't do for Mike Miller. But that day is coming," Winderman writes, seeing a possible confrontation as early as the trade deadline. If Riley comes to his owner and says he can improve the team by adding a big contract, does Arison blink?

"Then, and only then, will we (and LeBron?) get a sense of how far Arison is willing to go into the new frontier established by Prokhorov," says WInderman. James has a player option at season's end.

Joseph Goodman in the Herald describes Prokhorov as going "gangsta" with this summer's spending "whereas everyone else around the league started tightening the screws this offseason in preparation for the NBA’s new age" of austerity. "The Heat is on notice and the NBA has been hijacked from Russia with love," writes Goodman, who thinks the Nets are for real.

"Make no mistake, the Nets already have enough to compete for the Eastern Conference crown," writes Goodman. "When Joe Johnson is the 'weak link' in the starting lineup, you’re a contender. Of course, it’s the deep bench that the Nets are hoping will prove the difference in a seven-game series, and already you can see how this team might stack up with the Heat."

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