Prokhorov says no sale of Nets 'imminent'

AFP

New York (AFP) - Mikhail Prokhorov watched his Brooklyn Nets dismantle Oklahoma City 116-85 in their first home game of the NBA season, and said he has no immediate plans to give up control of the club.

There have been multiple reports that the Russian billionaire -- who bought the then-New Jersey Nets for some $200 million in a sale finalized in 2010 -- was entertaining offers from potential buyers.

"My position is that I will not give up control of the team," Prokhorov said prior to Monday's game.

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"But I am quite happy when someone sends me a nice offer, without taking my control. I think for the time being nothing is imminent, but I still think it's not bad to just listen."

Prokhorov acknowledged that the sale of the Los Angeles Clippers for an astonishing $2 billion to former Microsoft chief executive Steve Ballmer, finalized in August, made him feel it would be foolish not to sound out the market.

"I think it's common knowledge for the time being that for the last few months the market cap of NBA teams have skyrocketed," Prokhorov said. "That's why I think for any businessman in connection with some proposal, it's the great opportunity just to (listen)."

There was no sign on Monday that any uncertainty over ownership was affecting Nets players as they took the court before home fans for the first time this season.

-Stars missing-


They pummelled the injury-depleted Thunder, who were without stars Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook.

Brook Lopez made his belated season debut for Brooklyn after recovering from a sprained foot with an 18-point performance in just 24 minutes on the floor.

Lopez was playing his first regular-season game since December, when he broke his foot and was ruled out for the rest of the 2013-14 campaign.

He returned in the pre-season, only to suffer the sprain.

Deron Williams, finally healthy after off-season surgery on both ankles, scored 17 points in 37 minutes and handed out nine assists for the Nets.

Bojan Bogdanovic, the Nets' 25-year-old Croatian rookie who admitted this week he'd found it harder than he expected to adjust to the NBA, showed a flash of promise with a stylish behind the back dribble and alley-oop pass to Mason Plumlee for a basket to cap the first half.

The Nets led 59-40 at the interval and took an 85-62 lead into the fourth quarter, leading by as many as 35 in the final frame en route to the win.



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