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NBA PM: Changes Coming for Brooklyn Nets?

The Brooklyn Nets’ ownership group could be changing… Chandler Parsons’ conditioning questioned…

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Three months ago Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports reported that Brooklyn Nets controlling owner Mikhail Prokhorov, who also owns a sizable portion of the Barclays Center, was exploring the market to see what he could get for his $223 million purchase made back in 2010.

Since taking over the Nets four years ago, Prokhorov has been one of the most active and visible owners in the NBA. He’s made it clear that he’s willing to spend whatever it takes to field a contending team, although he’s come up short so far.

However, as much as he’s adapted to the NBA lifestyle, Prokhorov is still a business man at heart. He didn’t become a billionaire by passing up on good deals, and right now it’s feasible that he could get at least 10 times his investment, if not significantly more. The Los Angeles Clippers’ recent $2.2 billion price tag makes the prospect of selling more enticing than ever to all NBA owners, not just Prokhorov. Due to the privacy of these kind of negotiations and Prokhorov not wanting to seem like he has one foot out the door, Wojnarowski’s report was denied.

On Tuesday, though, Nets Daily confirmed through multiple sources that talks are indeed ongoing between Prokhorov and potential suitors. The terms used in their report was a “combination of assets” with Guggenheim Sports and Entertainment Assets, the group that owns the Los Angeles Dodgers with former Los Angeles Lakers great Magic Johnson. They paid $2.15 billion for the Dodgers and were one of the parties interested in the Clippers.

If the deal reported by Nets Daily came together, Prokhorov would remain a governor and controlling owner of the team. Prokhorov owns 80 percent of the Nets and 45 percent of the Barclays Center, with Ratner’s Nets Sports & Entertainment owning the parts of the team and arena that Prokhorov does not. There’s some doubt surrounding that part of the potential transaction, as indicated below.

According to Nets Daily, the Nets are valued at $1.7 billion and the arena is valued at $1.1 billion. The price tag on an eventual sale of both combined, especially if it’s complete ownership, would likely exceed that. If the three parties were to combine assets as suggested, the Dodgers, Nets, the Barclays Center and Dodger Stadium, the total value would be in the neighborhood of $8 billion.

At purchase, Prokhorov spoke definitively about how dedicated he was to building a championship team and bringing the best to Brooklyn. It’s turned out to be much easier said than done, as the Nets have only managed to get out of the first round once during his tenure and have never seriously been in the championship discussion. They have dealt with some untimely injuries, specifically to Deron Williams and Brook Lopez, the faces of the franchise, but even at full health the Nets were never on par with the likes of the Indiana Pacers and Miami HEAT.

Prokhorov swung for the fences in free agency multiple times, but was never able to land the top-tier stars he coveted. Instead, he mortgaged the team’s future draft picks for aging veterans like Joe Johnson, Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce. Pierce is gone, Garnett is coming off of the worst year in his career, and a second round exit again seems like the best-case scenario for the Nets.

From the outside looking in, a championship may have seemed purchasable to Prokhorov back in 2010. Now that he’s experienced just how difficult building a contender is, and that patience is just as important as money spent (last year’s second-round playoff team cost him $190 million), the lust and appeal that drew him to the league may have dwindled, understandably so.

Talks like this going public can lead to one of two possible outcomes: It can either speed up negotiations and get the best offers put on table, or the public backlash from them can lead to talks being put on hold/ending all together. The Nets have clearly wanted to keep this private, but it’s out there now, and with NBA team’s valuations never being higher, there’s serious reason to believe we could be witnessing Prokhorov’s final days as a part of the NBA, even as he says all he wants to do is find additional partners.

Parsons’ Conditioning Lacking: The Dallas Mavericks signed Chandler Parsons to a three-year max offer sheet this summer, which at the time everyone expected the Houston Rockets to match. The Rockets consistently said leading up to his free agency that they planned to match any offer, yet declined at the last moment in order to preserve future financial flexibility.

After continually missing out on their top free agent targets, the Mavericks had to be overjoyed to finally walk away with someone they viewed as worthy of a max contract. Some feel like they overpaid, but Parsons is one of the better small forwards in the league at 25 years of age with a very complete offensive arsenal. They’re banking on his consistent development over the past three years continuing and that the best years of his career are ahead of, not behind, him.

So far, the marriage between the two is off to a little bumpy start. At the beginning of training camp there was a report that Parsons had bulked up during the offseason in order to play some power forward when Dirk Nowitzki heads to the bench, but the term “bulking up” may not have been used accurately.

“One man’s bulking up is another man’s not quite in shape yet,” Carlisle said to the Dallas Morning News. “He will be [in shape] shortly. This summer, he didn’t work out during his free agency period, which is smart. I wouldn’t recommend him doing that, either.

“In fairness, he’s worked on his strength. He’s gotten stronger. So he’s going to be a little heavier than he was last year. But for him to be able to guard some of the guys he’s got to guard at the three spot, he’s going to need to be in great condition. And, he’ll get there quickly.”

This isn’t the kind of situation where Parson’s work ethic should come into question, although there is always a concern after a player gets his first big contract that he’s going to let up a bit in his workouts. Parsons went through training camp with Team USA and very nearly made the team; he wouldn’t have lasted long if he wasn’t in at least decent shape. This could be more about Carlisle trying to challenge the team’s second-highest paid player and making sure that he sets the example for everyone else with his dedication to his conditioning.

Having to defend the bigger, stronger power forwards last year motivated Parsons to spend a little bit more time in the weight room, but he has to find the even medium between adding strength and making sure that it doesn’t take away from his ability to play starter’s minutes and mobility.

Yannis Koutroupis is Basketball Insiders' Managing Site Editor and Senior Writer. He has been covering the NBA and NCAA for seven years.

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