Knicks-Nets battle for NY gets expensive
by Jeff Zillgitt, USA TODAY Sports
The astronomical spending spree happened in New York.
The money was spent on basketball players.
The Brooklyn Nets and bold Russian billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov opened the vaults and assembled a roster capable of competing for an NBA championship.
There’s your surprise.
In his desire to win a title, Prokhorov has instructed Nets general manager Billy King to do whatever it takes, no matter the cost. So King acquired Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce in a blockbuster trade with the Boston Celtics and also added Russian forward Andrei Kirilenko during free agency.
“When you are building a team and you can add players, you want to add players who have a championship pedigree,” King said. “But what they bring is not just basketball. They’ll bring knowledge, they’ll bring experience, they’ll bring competitiveness (and) they’ll bring toughness.”
The Nets are looking at a starting lineup filled with current and former All-Stars and future Hall of Famers: point guard Deron Williams, shooting guard Joe Johnson, center Brook Lopez, Garnett and Pierce. The bench is deep, too, with Jason Terry, Andray Blatche, Reggie Evans and Kirilenko.
With so many teams cautious about spending money and exceeding the luxury tax threshold because of the punitive and escalating luxury tax established in the 2011 collective bargaining agreement, the Nets will have a payroll of about $101.2 million and a tax bill of nearly $84 million — the highest tax bill in NBA history and nearly triple the amount they would have paid under the old system.
Prokhorov has committed $185 million to the 2013-14 roster, and when he said previously that the luxury tax was not a concern, he meant it. He really, really meant it.
“When I bought the team, I promised to create a championship contender, a team worthy of Brooklyn,” Prokhorov told news reporters. “I’ll be proud when we win the championship. I am not a man of procedure. I am a man of results.
“We need a championship team. For me, it’s not the way to wait 10 years for results. I don’t think our fans will either. I’m willing to invest more to make Brooklyn the best in the … [For more on Knicks-Nets Battle for New York gets super-expensive, click here.]