After giving Irina Pavlova the reins on the business side of the franchise, Mikhail Prokhorov is bringing another 30-something Russian to New Jersey as an assistant general manager. Andrei Vatutin, instrumental in the success of CSKA Moscow, will join the Nets after the Russian Super League championships in early June.
Vatutin's appointment was first reported in early April by the Russian press. Adrian Wojnarowski adds Friday that "European and NBA sources" tell him Vatutin is nearing an agreement "to take a senior-level, front-office job" with the Nets. Vatutin had no comment.
Although Vatutin has no NBA experience, he's arguably the best basketball executive in Europe. As GM and CEO, Vatutin developed a winning culture at CSKA.
The "Red Army" has won seven straight Russian championships and has been to the Euroleague Final Four eight straight times, including four visits to the Finals and two championships. The Nets will retain Bobby Marks, Thorn's longtime #2 and someone recognized as a potential NBA general manager himself. Vatutin would become the NBA's second European assistant GM after the Raptors' Maurizio Gherardini.