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Mikhail Prokhorov is sixth biggest spender in professional sports

Brooklyn Nets/Adam Pantozzi

When Mikhail Prokhorov bought the Nets, he thought he could model the team after European soccer clubs, many of them owned by sheiks and oligarchs who like him are willing to spend.

Well, in one way, it's certainly worked out that way. In an ESPN/Sports Intelligence analysis of average sports salaries around the world, the Nets finished sixth this season with an average salary of $6,814,067. As everyone knows, that's the highest NBA salary. Of the five teams with bigger average salary, three are European soccer clubs --Manchester City in the English Premier League and Real Madrid and F.C. Barcelona in Spain's La Liga. The other two are the Yankees and Dodgers

The Nets average salary jumped 23.6 percent this year, the biggest jump in the top 25. Of the top 10 biggest spenders, two are Russian oligarchs -- Prokhorov and his friend, Roman Abramovich, the owner of Chelsea in the English Premier League -- and one by an Arab sheik, UAE Deputy Prime Minister Sheik Mansour.