Mikhail Prokhorov talked to Sport-Express, one of Russia's leading sport sites this week, providing details of his strategy going forward, including how money means less to him than "his principles," that is "for me, there has always been only one place - first;" how each expenditure has a purpose; his role; how Andrei Kirilenko fits in; and how there are free agents who he cannot name but who will want to join the Nets in the future.
Here is a rough translation of some excerpts, made from the original Russian. We hope to have a better translation later Friday. But for now, as always, enjoy.
On the huge expenditures of money.
In sports, it is impossible to think about business rather than realizing the highest goals. For me, there has always been only one place - first. In "Brooklyn" I have my principles to realize. Step by step, our club is moving toward the goal, not forgetting, of course, about the economy. This is the NBA.
On how his spending is perceived by others in the league.
This is not a thoughtless purchase of superstars. Iin every transaction we have focused not so much on the player's name, but rather on its potential to become part of a championship team. And in the case Andrei Kirilenko, we took into consideration the image component. I am sure that with the advent of Andrei, the popularity of "Brooklyn" in Russia will increase dramatically.
On the team's advanced age.
Do you know that ... last season, the Miami Heat was second in the league in average age of the players? But that did not stop Floridians from defending the title. Moreover, they again considered the main favorites. In general, the age of the team is not an obstacle to its development. By the same token, "Brooklyn" is now very deep, probably the deepest in the league. There is a starting five - and there is a bench where there is no lack of relatively young players who can replace the some of the starters. Blatche is the same age as Lopez, whose name will be published in the starting line-up. Williams is in his prime, plus there is Tornike Shengelia and Tyshawn Taylor, developing before our eyes.
On his role.
The rules are: King offers me a choice of options, but the last word is always with me. I'm also well versed in basketball, and I can have a look how which player would fit better in a model that is going to be used by our coaching staff.
On the long term plan: becoming attractive to free agents in 2015-16.
Regarding the future of "Brooklyn" I am absolutely calm. Two years from now, when our payroll will clear, we will be even stronger. I cannot reveal the names of the stars, which, having become free agents will want to go to "Brooklyn." For such things, the NBA would fine me. But, believe me, there are such people. Our front office does not sit around and wait for the future.
On signing fellow Russian Andrei Kirilenko.
I am very pleased that Andrew, who had the opportunity to earn much more money with other clubs, still wanted the "Nets". Our cooperation began long ago - when Kirilenko was a 17-year-old boy with CSKA, which I owned at that time. Three years later, he left for the NBA, "Utah". And now, after ten years, Andrew is again part of my team. For the "Brooklyn," this is a huge success.
On those who think he has a side deal with Kirilenko.
What can I do about it? This is the image of Russia in the world. If we were not Russian, no one would see it as somewhat suspect. Situations where a veteran goes to a pay cut for a chance to win a ring for the NBA are not uncommon. This happens almost every summer, and all are satisfied ...
If someone wants to check out our accounting department - please check. "Brooklyn" has nothing to hide, we are acting within the law. And the whispers around me never worried me. I know that everything is done correctly. And now I will try with Andrei to be the first Russian to win the NBA title. This will be the best advertisement for our country in the Americas.
On who came up with the idea of inviting Jason Kidd to coach the Nets?
The most interesting is that it was the idea of the Jason. Yes, Kidd came to us through his agent. Outlined his ideas and we liked them.
The last eight or ten seasons Kidd, in fact, has already been the coach, but on the court. In "New Jersey", "Dallas", "New York," Jason was in charge of the locker room, he determined what combination played, was a motivator for team-mates. He told me that a long time internally prepared himself to coaching, he studied different techniques, talked with experts.
In general, the "Nets" are a community of like-minded people, united by a similar vision of basketball and professing the same corporate culture. Here, no one cares, if you are a star, or you just have to be it. All solve the same problem regardless of the regalia. And it's great.
- Mikhail Prokhorov: "I will try, together with Kirilenko of Russia to win the NBA title" (Google Translate) - Eugene Dzichkovsky - Sport-Express