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Mark Cuban takes on fellow (but lesser) billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov over absentee ownership

Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports

Maybe Mark Cuban was still upset that Forbes Magazine had valued his Mavericks at $765 million this week, less than the Nets ("I think we're worth well over a billion.") Or perhaps, he's still smarting over his latest fine by Commissioner David Stern ($100,000 for "inappropriate language" directed towards refs after his Mavs blew a 17-point lead).

Then again, was he still being petulant about Jason Kidd's decision to leave him two years ago ("I want him to get his ass kicked when we play him.") Or Deron Williams' decision not to join his aging club? Did he see the writing on the wall, that the Mavs were likely to get beaten by the Nets and he wanted to distract attention?


Cuban once again criticized the league's only other Russian-speaking (after a fashion) owner for not being as hands-on as he is. He was asked a hypothetical question. Could he run a team from 5,000 miles away? You knew it was coming.

"Absolutely not," he responded. ""That’s why I sit so close, that’s like trying to run a company and not being able to go to the sales meetings, not being able to go to the customer service meetings or support meetings," Owners, he said, are getting closer to their teams, he said, assuming that's always a good thing.

He joshed that his advice is only applicable to "individuals 6'5" and under." Prokhorov is somewhere between 6'8" and 6'9."

Of course despite Prokhorov's absence, the Nets have had the fastest rise in franchise valuation over the past year, surpassing Cuban's Mavs for fifth on the Forbes list, at $780 million. And Prokhorov's minority owners never sued him like Ross Perot Jr. sued Cuban in 2011 for "a litany of questionable business, financial and personal decisions" regarding the Mavs and that Cuban was "careless and reckless" in his decision-making, causing Perot's Hillwood Investment Properties III, Ltd., to "lose substantial investment value." A judge threw out the suit.

So Irina Pavlova, his representative in New York, must be doing something right.

Perhaps anticipating another sling and arrow from fellow (but lesser) billionaire, Prokhorov told reporters it was of no real consequence. "Frankly speaking, there’s a lot of criticism that I am not in Brooklyn. But I just have a question for you: Do you really think you need me sitting in the arena to see a game?" Prokhorov said in London. "My friends, we are living in the 21st century." He also said that once the Olympics are over, expect to see him more. He runs the Russian biathlon program (and did run for president against Vladimir Putin.)

Cuban also took a shot at Kidd's investment in the Nets. The head coach paid $500,000 for a 1/12th of one percent stake in the Nets and roughly 1/4 of one percent stake in the arena. "Oh, he did buy Jay-Z’s [share]? Well, I guess if it’s 100 dollars or less, it’s not a big deal." Oh Mark.

Asked by NetsDaily if Prokhorov would have any comment, his spokesperson replied, "Nah."

if he could run a team from 5,000 miles away,