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6 Months Out, Prokhorov Tours Barclays Center Site

April 10, 2012

BROOKLYN, N.Y.Touring the Barclays Center construction site in Brooklyn's Prospect Heights neighborhood on Tuesday, Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov spoke with media about the state of the team and the upcoming move to Brooklyn.


Touring the Barclays Center construction site in Brooklyn's Prospect Heights neighborhood on Tuesday, developer Bruce Ratner led Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov and his retinue up a flight of stairs to the lower suite level. There, after a short walk, they entered the owner's suite, positioned center court just about halfway up the arena bowl.

Ratner used the vantage point to identify and explain arena features as the rest of the group milled about, snapping cell phone photos and angling for a better view of the Nets' future home. Each eventually had their fill, shuffling out the doorway toward the concourse, until only Ratner and Prokhorov remained, going over details with the vision less than six months away from becoming a reality.

"When I bought the share in the Barclays Center, I do remember together with my partner Bruce Ratner, that we were visiting here and joking that I (joined) a partnership in a hole," Prokhorov told assembled media after the tour. "But now I am quite happy that we are all here. My partner and I, we held on to that vision; we saw the future, and we saw that it will really be a wonderful venue for all the Brooklynites."

Having toured the site for a second time and the first in more than a year Prokhorov found himself impressed by the alterations, believing that a "great miracle" is possible and that now it's time to fill the state-of-the-art arena with a "genius" team. The owner expressed confidence in the performance of general manager Billy King and coach Avery Johnson, and reaffirmed his prediction that the Nets would win a championship within five years; he has three remaining.

Prokhorov did preach patience, hoping that fans will share in management's belief that while a playoff team is relatively easy to achieve, constructing a championship-caliber roster is more difficult, requiring step-by-step additions with the goal of building a cohesive unit with "strong team spirit." But he believes the team is headed in the right direction and were it not for injuries, this year's team would've made the playoffs.

Despite the Nets' on-court struggles, Prokhorov pointed to the successful development stories of rookie MarShon Brooks and D-League callup Gerald Green as positives, along with the recent acquisition of Gerald Wallace. The veteran forward has averaged 14.8 points, 6.7 rebounds, 3.1 assists and 1.8 steals in 13 games as a Net; the team has played its best basketball since his arrival, winning six of nine games entering tonight's matchup against the 76ers. And after meeting with impending free agent Deron Williams, Prokhorov believes he and the team's star point guard are on the same page.

"I think he wants to win and he wants to be a part of a great franchise so we have the same view on this," Prokhorov said.

Though this season will conclude the Nets' 35-year history in New Jersey, Prokhorov made a point to thank the fans that have supported the team throughout that period, and invite them to join the Nets after they move across the Hudson River.

"I hope that the majority of the Nets fans from New Jersey will join us here," Prokhorov said. "Our team will do our best in order to invite all the people who supported our team for many, many years to also be the fans here. Our new name will be Brooklyn Nets; that's why I hope that we can unite New Jersey fans, Manhattan and of course Brooklynites; it's our new home, and we will do our best to have all these great communities together in this great arena."


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