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Ownership Transfer Could Stretch Into May...or Later

The Barclays Center ground breaking has been held.  The "60 Minutes" profile of Mikhail Prokhorov has been aired. But the official transfer of ownership from Bruce Ratner to the Russian billionaire may not happen until May or possibly the summer. 

The hold up is what is known as "vacant possession" of the arena "footprint".  The ESDC still has to remove the last remaining residents and a handful of businesses from the property.  Many ignored an April 3 deadline set by the state agency. So, it will go back to court to get them evicted and relocated.  The judge in the case has wide latitude in determining when residents have to leave and businesses have to shutter their doors for good. Until that happens, the Ratner/Prokhorov deal can't be completed and NBA approval has to wait.

An ESDC spokeswoman tells, a real estate blog, it will take possession "when the remaining occupants have been relocated. We hope to accomplish this within the next month or two." Critics however think they can delay the process til summer and are back in yet another court Monday.

While no one in the Nets' organization is concerned the deal won't go through, they know that without Prokhorov at the controls, key decisions, including Rod Thorn's extension, the recruiting of a new head coach and negotiations with free agents will be delayed.