MOSCOW, July 28. /TASS/. Russian tycoon Mikhail Prokhorov has no intention at the moment of putting up for sale a controlling stake in the National Basketball Association’s (NBA) Atlantic Division team, the Brooklyn Nets, and is still offering a minority share for purchase, NetsDaily web portal reported on Friday quoting a source in the US-based association.
The New York Post reported earlier in the day citing its unnamed sources that "Brooklyn Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov, while focused on selling a minority stake in the franchise, has warmed recently to the possibility of offering a controlling slice of the team."
NetsDaily later dismissed the news saying "A league source told NetsDaily that the Nets are still only offering a minority stake in the team."
The Russian oligarch has been trying to sell up to 49% of the Brooklyn Nets, which he owns since 2010, for several months already. The New York Post argued that Prokhorov "warmed up" to selling a controlling stake after another NBA team, the Houston Rockets, was recently put up for sale.
According to the New York Post, the most likely buyers of both clubs are investors from China. The Houston Rockets enjoy vast popularity in China because of the eight-year career of center Yao Ming, considered to be one of the popular athletes in that country. However, according to the daily, China is also eyeing the Brooklyn Nets, since the club has on its roster skilled Chinese point guard, Jeremy Lin.
Russian billionaire and former presidential candidate Prokhorov, 52, bought the then New Jersey Nets in 2010 and 45% of shares in Barclays Center for $223 million and later relocated the club to Brooklyn, which has a large Russian-speaking population.
He owned 80% of the Brooklyn Nets and 45% of Barclays Center until December 2015, when he gained full control of the team and the sports arena. According to reports by Bloomberg at that time, the Russian tycoon paid an additional $875 million in December 2015 for the club and $825 million for Barclays Center.