Nets to hire Russian exec for front office

As Russian billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov begins making an imprint as owner of the New Jersey Nets, he’s nearing an agreement with CSKA Moscow president Andrei Vatutin to take a senior-level, front-office job with the franchise, European and NBA sources told Yahoo! Sports.

Sources say Vatutin, 36, will join a revamped Nets front office after CSKA’s season ends in the next few weeks. With the firing of general manager Kiki Vandeweghe on Wednesday, Nets president Rod Thorn will take back his general manager duties.

The Nets are also retaining vice president of basketball operations Bobby Marks.

Sources believe Prokhorov wants Vatutin groomed to someday become an NBA GM. Nevertheless, most believe the young Russian is a long way from being qualified to run an NBA team.

Vatutin was the GM for CSKA, a European powerhouse, when Prokhorov operated the franchise. He helped put together a CSKA team that won the 2008 Euroleague title.


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Updated Friday, May 21, 2010