The Nets don’t have Carmelo Anthony and they may never get him, but that doesn’t mean a thing to owner Mikhail Prokhorov.
The man who flew from Russia to Jersey just to tell America that New Jersey, not Denver, would be breaking off trade talks, has lost a lot of face. In his mind, however, he saved it by sparing himself a humiliating trek to the Mile High City.
Adrian Wojnarwoski described Prokorohov’s triumphant arrival in Jersey as “no white knight sashaying into the States on a horse, but a basketball dummy on a donkey”.
It was a parallel reality, where the image of the franchise and its owner were just as (if not more) important than making a team better. Granted, anyone who buys the Nets knows that a lot of re-branding is in order. At some point, though, these efforts are only as real as the strides made on the court.
It would appear, though, that Prokhorov is still adamant about salvaging this failed Melo deal—if nothing else, so he can end up with yet another moral victory, however hollow. From Peter Vecsey, in today’s New York Post:
Friend of mine worked with wealthy Russians for more than 15 years. “I can state with some confidence Mikhail Prokhorov is not finished in the Nets’ pursuit of Carmelo Anthony,” Sam Lefkowitz underlines. “He will allow all others to establish market value and then beat it. He may not get his man, but that is the plan.”
So Prokhorov, whose active pursuit came to an end when the Nuggets star rebuffed him, will now try Plan B: passivity. Not irrelevance, passivity. Then, when the market has set a value—i.e. when other teams are close to a deal—Prokhorov will make an offer. Never mind that he already made an offer that most considered perfectly fair. He will do it again.
Did Prokhorov have a shot at a bargain? Did he prove himself willing to invest big? Either way, that offer will be rejected—and either way, he will try to spin it as a sign of legitimacy for himself and his team.
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