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Prokhorov uses ‘C’ word in talking off-season success

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Brooklyn Nets Owner Mikhail Prokhorov Speaks with the Media Photo by David Dow/NBAE via Getty Images

Mikhail Prokhorov, in comments to both The Post and the Russian news agency TASS, used the “C” word—championship— to calibrate his team’s success in the off-season.

And yes, there was some subtle sniping at the Knicks. In fact, the comments about a possible championship came when Brian Lewis asked the Nets rivalry with the Knicks, whose off-season has been anything but stellar.

“We don’t set the takeover of New York as our goal,” Prokhorov told the Post. “We’re about steadily developing a team that, at some point in the not-too-distant future, will get us a championship.”

Using language only slightly less-specific, at least about title hopes, Prokhorov told TASS, “Beefing up the team with new players means that we have the potential and talent to reach a new level, while preserving our key values and principles. I am sure that fans in New York and around the world will have an unforgettable time.”

Prokhorov also sent an upbeat message to the team’s long time fans via the team’s social media... and suggested they be ever so humble, at least in public...

In all of it, he was echoing players who are now openly talking not just about the playoffs, but a title shot.

“Now it’s championship talk. That’s all you’ve got to think about. It’s what we’ve got to work towards,” Taurean Prince, who the Nets traded for this summer, said Sunday

It was first comments since Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving came on-board. The Russian owner praised his front office not just for their work this summer but for creating an “infrastructure” and “culture” appealing to the game’s best players. He also couldn’t miss an opportunity to take a subtle swipe at Knicks owner James Dolan.

“Sean [Marks] and Kenny [Atkinson] have built tremendous infrastructure, whether it’s within the coaching staff, medical team, physical training — you name it. And the culture has changed significantly. We’re now more about our own step-by-step achievements than what others are doing that could distract us.”

“Others?” as in the Knicks.

Similarly, he told TASS that the culture and infrastructure extends to the team’s facilities (which of course he happily financed).

“We have been implying maximum efforts over the past three seasons forming step by step a team with a special culture, where teamwork and the support of each other are indispensable,” Prokhorov stated. “As the saying goes - one man does not make a team.”

“We also do everything possible to provide our athletes with the best conditions for training and it implies infrastructure as well,” he continued.

And although he didn’t directly recruit Knicks adherents, he did cast his message to “New York fans” and told Brian Lewis he understands the need to “repay the trust.”

“We greatly appreciate the fans in New York and are grateful for their support and patience,” he said. “Of course we want to repay this trust with a team that is truly worthy of it, and I am confident we are well on the way to doing so.”