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As Holdouts Depart Arena Footprint, "The Prokhorov Plan" Emerges


Despite the wrangling between Daniel Goldstein and Bruce Ratner's front office, the last remaining tenants and businesses are quietly leaving the Barclays Center footprint. Friday will be the last night for Freddy's, the bar at the center of the eminent domain fight.  Others are packing or have left.  With everyone required to be out in the next week, the way seems clear for Mikhail Prokhorov's ownership of the team...and a series of high profile moves immediately thereafter.

Nets insiders say once "vacant possession" of the arena properties is achieved, Ratner and Prokhorov will close the deal and the ESDC will forward the lease for Barclays Center to the new arena holding company, 55% owned by Ratner and 45% owned by Prokhorov.  The Russian billionaire will also have undisclosed "consent rights" at the arena.  The NBA Board of Governors, who insiders say has approved the deal informally, will then formalize the process.

Between the closing and the May 18 Draft Lottery, the insiders say the team will announce a series of  basketball moves to let fans and the NBA know Prokhorov is serious about turning the franchise around.  Insiders declined to describe the moves in detail, but they involve the hiring of "well known basketball experts", both Americans and Russians; improvements to the Nets' basketball operations; the purchase of a D-League team that would be used to develop basketball talent for the Nets and management talent for Russian hoops; as well as a clear signal that the Nets are targeting top-flight free agents.