While suggesting Mikhail Prokhorov had tried a "quick scheme to success" in the NBA, Adam Silver defended the Nets owner, saying he appears to have learned his lessons, adding, "he told me he will be very involved in the transition as he searches for both a new general manager and a new coach."
In talking with reporters at London's O2 arena before the Raptors-Magic game, Silver said what the Nets are going through is nothing more than "the ebb and flow" in the normal operation of an NBA team. But he suggested that Prokhorov didn't get "how difficult it is to win in this league" in part because of his experience in the Euroleague.
"I've seen that same learning curve for owners coming into the league," said Silver. "Other owners who have tried a quick scheme to success. In a positive way, there are no shortcuts to building winning franchises in the NBA. It's step-by-step and I think that's a process he is willing to go through it now."
Here's the full transcript of his remarks on the Nets.
"It's ultimately Mr. Prokhorov's team to operate. I'm not particularly concerned. As I always say, there's the ebb and flow in the operation of every team.
"There's no doubt a fairly steep learning curve for owners coming into the league. I think, in the case of Mr. Prokhorov, he'd had experience with another club, CSKA Moscow, operating in the Euroleague, a league that doesn't have a similar salary cap system that the NBA has. While he demonstrated a willingness to pay far above our tax, what comes with that are also restrictions on what free agents you can sign. He 'went for it," so to speak, bringing in some high profile veterans and trading away some future assets in order to try to win early on in his tenure.
"As he's acknowledged, lesson learned on his part, about how difficult it is to win in this league. I find him to be an extraordinarily bright individual. I think sometimes his glibness at press conferences is mistaken for a lack of understanding. I think he has a deep understanding of this league.
"Like what happens in other businesses, it comes time to reset. I think he would be the first to acknowledge, although he replaced a key executive in Billy King, he was part of that process along with Billy. It comes a time, in the life of a general manager, that they need to change direction. He's told me he will be very involved in the transition as he searches for both a new general manager and a new coach and that he's remained involved with the operation of the team.
"The lack of success on the court, so far, during his tenure as an owner of the Nets, has nothing to do with the fact that he is an international owner, certainly not that he's a Russian owner. I've seen that same learning curve for owners coming into the league, or other owners who have tried a quick scheme to success. In a positive way, there are no shortcuts to building winning franchises in the NBA. It's step-by-step and I think that's a process he is willing to go through it now."
Earlier in the week, Harvey Araton of the Times quoted Silver as saying Prokhorov and Dmitry Razumov had informed him of the staff changes.