In his first comments, he said the Nets would make the playoffs in his first season as owner and win a championship in a maximum of five years. He also said he could convince the best of the best to join the Nets.
Even though the Nets didn’t get any of the best of the best free agents, Prokhorov still said the goal was to be a playoff team this season.
Now, he’s backtracked from that and obviously to this point he hasn’t delivered the best of the best, but he is still saying championship within five years and has everyone’s attention.
Everyone is talking about what he said yesterday, about him telling the Nets to “walk away” from the Carmelo Anthony trade talks.
The man is bold and confident. No question. Here are three different ways to look at yesterday’s statement:
Prokhorov is bluffing
It’s hard to read the big man, who really showed no emotion other than looking and sounding as if he had had enough of this Melo-drama. But you could see how Prokhorov’s pronouncement puts the onus on the Nuggets to make the next move.
To this point, for the most part, the Nets and Nuggets have been playing by Denver’s rules. Prokhorov put an end to that. He did it more emphatically than general manager Billy King did in September when he pulled back. That move was more for the mental health of the team, to get the guys names out of the papers, blogs and web sites, than it was putting Denver on alert.
As he was talking, I believed Prokhorov was serious. But he hasn’t always been entirely honest. Over the summer, he said the Nets only went after the big three in free agency and no one else. They did offer Carlos Boozer more than $70 million. That would constitute going after him.
Anyway, the Nets have come this far with Denver and have the best package to offer the Nuggets. Many sources believed Denver would agree eventually on a trade and could still come back to the Nets and say they’re in.
What happens then? We’ll see.
Prokhorov is serious
He certainly seemed to be seriously annoyed and frustrated with how this whole situation has gone and been handled and everyone has to take blame for that.
The Nets are under new ownership and it’s fair to say the Russians don’t want everything played out in the press or in public. Prokhorov made a point of saying that in his opening remarks.
With Twitter, blogs and all the other media outlets, things are going to get out. You can’t control the media. But things may have gone differently if the Nets were able to dispel some myths because there were so many reports, many contradictory, and there was no one speaking to separate fact from fiction.
The Nets are running by different rules with a new regime, but the prior one made sure they limited varying, contradictory reports.
That said, this is Prokhorov’s team now and he runs it how he wants to run it. He probably was bothered by all the reports, by how the Nuggets continued to up the ante every time the trade talks got close, by the way the Nets were being perceived and portrayed as a team no star wanted to join and by how it affected the players.
Prokhorov is a business man who sometimes knows the best move is to walk away from a deal. Remember what he said, “There comes a time when the prize is simply too expensive.”
Prokhorov is trying to save further embarrassment
No one knows for sure whether Anthony would have agreed to sign a three-year, $65 million extension with the Nets. There also were rumblings that he didn’t want to meet with the Nets -- Antony said as much Sunday night. But Prokhorov and King said a meeting was set for Thursday and Anthony concurred after last night’s game.
But Prokhorov said all the information he received was “mixed,” that there was no “direct information,” that everything was “complicated.” All along, it had been reported that the Knicks were the team he wanted to play for the most.
Imagine the embarrassment it would have caused if Prokhorov, King and company met with Anthony and he still said he didn’t want to sign with them.
Follow me on Twitter: @Al_Iannazzone
Al Iannazzone covers the Nets for The Record (Bergen County, N.J.)