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Prokhorov: We Lost Three to Five Games Because of 'Melo Drama

New Jersey Nets
New Jersey Nets

In an exclusive interview at his New York hotel, Mikhail Prokhorov told a Russian reporter that the Nets lost three to five games because players were affected by months of trade rumors.  Prokhorov told SovSports' Pavel Lysenko that "because of the hype around Carmelo Anthony my players were not in the best [mental] condition and we clearly gave up three to five games. The guys did not know what club they will be with tomorrow".

Prokhorov described the final decision: "I arranged a conference call with the management of New Jersey, discussed the issue...and all came to the unanimous opinion. I as the owner realized that we had crossed the Rubicon, and had to stop this murky deal. We will wait for a new opportunity to acquire a top basketball player. We need one player out of the top 12. No matter what role. The league is very rich in talent."

What is he looking for? "These are capable young people. But the team lacks a leader who alone can decide the fate of games". As for signing Russian players like Knicks' Timofey Mozgov, Prokhorov said he "will on no account weaken the Nets by inviting a player only because he is Russian."

There is one area, he joked, where the team is already No. 1. "In terms of celebrity, we've already killed the Lakers.  We have Kim Kardashian, Maria Sharapova, Beyonce, Jay-Z.".