They may not have gotten what they wanted in the Draft Lottery, nor their first choice in the coaching search, but ESPN's Marc Stein believes the Nets have something more important: Mikhail Prokhorov.
In an interview Wednesday, Stein said that the Nets' big lure in free agency remains Mikhail Prokhorov. While Avery Johnson represents "clearly the most splashy coach available on the market", Stein said "the main selling point for the Nets is still going to be Mikhail Prokhorov".
"Everyone saw the '60 Minutes' piece on this guy," said Stein. "Everyone knows he is the billionaire playboy from Russia who's vowing to turn the Nets into a global power within five years, so the Nets are well positioned...I think they were going to be in the same free agent position no matter who they hired."
Stein did not dismiss Johnson's attractiveness to the Nets, pointing out his "gaudy" coaching record, his relationship with Devin Harris and the possibility that the Hawks "might have snapped him up" if the Nets didn't. Still, he said, "I think what the Nets are banking on here is 'get the coach we want and let's rely on all this cap space' to go after two max players and a new owner who everyone is curious about."
Nets, Avery Johnson Reach Verbal Agreement (Video) - Marc Stein - ESPN