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Prokhorov: Maybe Better Nets Don't Make the Playoffs This Season

New Jersey Nets
New Jersey Nets

Mikhail Prokhorov is sticking with his prediction of a championship in five years, in spite of big short-term losses on the court and on the ledger books. He's thinking long-term, telling Bloomberg TV that may hang on to the team for 15 years and conceding that not making the playoffs this season may benefit the franchise.

“On the one hand, I am quite happy that we killed underdog’s mentality in our team,” Prokhorov said. “On the other hand, next year we have two draft picks, and if we have not the best level of results, we have the opportunity to add to our team better players.” (The Nets have one first and two second round picks in 2011, and two first round picks and three second round picks in 2012.)

He credited Avery Johnson with the change in mentality and admitted to "conflicting" feelings about the playoffs.

Prokhorov added that he he could remain owner of the Nets for as long as 15 years because he didn’t buy the team solely as a business venture. Still, the visibility he's gained as the NBA's first truly international owner is helping his businesses.  He’s received at least four “serious” proposals from American companies since taking over the Nets. 

The biggest is a possible $5 billion tie-up between a U.S. energy supplier and his Quadra power utility in Russia. “Every week, I receive a minimum 20 proposals from the United States,” Prokhorov told Bloomberg's Ryan Chilcote. “Some are completely crazy.”