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Billy King: Mikhail Prokhorov is not selling the Brooklyn Nets

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Debby Wong-USA TODAY Sports

Billy King was emphatic on Tuesday night when asked about two financial issues concerning the Nets: Mikhail Prokhorov is NOT selling the team and neither he nor ownership have given up their championship aspirations, as Paul Pierce suggested.

"We'll put it to rest. I think it’s been said, [Mikhail Prokhorov’s] not selling." King explained, an apparent reference to a NetsDaily story last week that Prokhorov wants to combine his Brooklyn assets --a majority interest in the Nets and minority interest in Barclays Center-- with those of Guggenheim Sports and Entertainment Assets, a newly formed partnership that includes investors with significant stake in the Dodgers. The two sides are in "ongoing discussions," a source told NetsDaily.

One reason King apparently brought up the sale rumors is that LeBron James, talking about the players need to be aggressive, listed several windfalls for owners, adding, "Prokhorov "is possibly selling his majority stake for over a billion (dollars)."

"So tell LeBron," King added while smiling, "he's not selling."

Todd Boehly, president of Guggenheim Partners and an investor in the Dodgers, met eight days ago in Moscow with Prokhorov, Nets minority owner Bruce Ratner and Nets/Barclays Center CEO Brett Yormark. An NBA-savvy investor told NetsDaily that the idea for the combination of assets came from Guggenheim.  Sources familiar with the talks said Prokhorov would retain control of the Nets and Ratner control of the arena.

King said Nets ownership, who is paying $94 million in salary and a projected $32 million in luxury taxes this season, would continue to spend if needed.

"They haven’t wavered one bit," King said. "I think we’re spending pretty good right now."

Pierce had told NBA.com's David Aldridge that the Nets decided against resigning him as part of a cost-cutting campaign that left them in the middle, no longer a championship contender.

"When the negotiations started I thought we were gonna bring him back," King said. "They were at a number that we weren’t ready to go to, and then they were pretty confident that he was gonna get that number, so we moved in a different direction. And then when they came back, we had already proceeded in a different direction."