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Adam Silver: Mikhail Prokhorov "playing by the rules"

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Debby Wong-USA TODAY Sports

Adam Silver admitted to Tim Bontemps Wednesday that what the Nets did this off-season is perfectly legal under the CBA, but it's not something the league anticipated during its labor talks with the players union two years ago. And while he admits there is a "correlation" between spending in the off-season and winning during the season, he said it's not perfect ... and there remain long-term consequences for the Nets.

"Even as someone who was and is a proponent of a harder tax, I don’t want to declare the sky is falling yet because they are doing what is permissible under the rules," the incoming NBA commissioner told Bontemps.

"Ultimately there’s no prohibition if you’re willing to pay a very substantial tax — there’s no prohibition on signing the players they did, but the new rules also dramatically limit those players that are available to sign, especially once you move into the tax. So we’ll see [what happens]."

The Nets went from an $83 million payroll and a $12.9 million tax bill last season to a $102 million payroll and a projected tax bill of $87 million this season, adding seven new players, including at least two future Hall of Famers ... despite the CBA.

"So far, they are playing by the rules, and we’ll see whether that brings them the success they are hoping for," Silver concluded.