Can Brooklyn Nets Win Because of Mikhail Prokhorov or in Spite of Him?

Frank CesareContributor IIMay 27, 2014

Brooklyn Nets head coach Jason Kidd, left, Kevin Garnett, second from left, Paul Pierce, second from right, and Jason Terry, right greet team owner Mikhail Prokhorov, center, as he arrives at an NBA basketball news conference, Thursday, July 18, 2013, at Barlcays Center in New York. The Nets introduced their newest players, Garnett, Pierce and Terry, whom they acquired in a trade with the Boston Celtics. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)
Mary Altaffer/Associated Press

A billionaire owner willing to defy the luxury tax to win a championship at all costs sounds brilliant from a fan's perspective, but when Mikhail Prokhorov's funds are distributed whimsically, regret and failure become the reality. 

The miscues of Brooklyn Nets general manager Billy King have the organization sidled with old and overrated players. 

Joe Johnson, Deron Williams and Brook Lopez will be occupying a significant portion of the franchise's salary cap for the next two to three seasons while their abilities may continue to diminish. 


Is Prokhorov at Fault?

Many fans would be grateful for an owner who cares about winning a championship more than paying bills, but the impact of the Nets' spending has their future looking bleak. 

Prokhorov isn't at fault for opening up his wallet and taking excessive salaries back from other organizations. The issue lies in the players that were overpaid and acquired whom the Nets should have avoided. 

Billy King mortgaged Brooklyn's future with the moves he made to bring in Gerald Wallace, Joe Johnson, Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett due to Prokhorov's impatience to build a contender. 

MIAMI, FL - MAY 6: Joe Johnson #7, Paul Pierce #34, and Deron Williams #8 of the Brooklyn Nets celebrate in Game One of the Eastern Conference Semi-Finals against the Miami Heat during the 2014 NBA Playoffs at American Airlines Arena on May 6, 2014 in Mia
Issac Baldizon/Getty Images

Instead of building the team with cheap young talent through the draft, a bevy of draft picks were unloaded to bring in two past-their-prime stars—Garnett and Pierce—who have fizzled for most of their tenures in Brooklyn. 

In hindsight, it may have been in the Nets' best interest to sell high on the injury-prone players once thought to be cornerstones of the franchise: Williams and Lopez. 

Prokhorov can't be blamed too much for his impatience to win, as it is human nature, but the lack of draft picks on the horizon coupled with the newfound negative sentiment for Brooklyn's flashy pieces has the franchise looking down the barrel of mediocrity. 


Could Brooklyn's Owner Fix this Mess?

One of the keys to being a consistent contender in the NBA is a willingness to spend. Prokhorov has shown his desire to pay the big bucks needed to attract big-name players.

However, it might be time the Nets' owner says goodbye to the duds eating up cap space. 

In order for Brooklyn to win under their owner, he'll need to admit defeat on this current experiment and do what he can to unload the contracts of Garnett, Williams, Lopez and Johnson. 

SAN ANTONIO, TX - FEBRUARY 25:  New Jersey Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov meets with Deron Williams following the game against the San Antonio Spurs at AT&T Center on February 25, 2011 in San Antonio, Texas. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agr
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Players near the twilight of their career or who have shown a recent history of chronic injury woes are better off elsewhere if Prokhorov is serious about eventually winning a championship. 

The quicker Brooklyn clears its salary cap and begins hunting for draft picks and young talent, the quicker the franchise will become a contender.

With numerous high-profile free agents on the market in the next couple of offseasons, the Nets will have the potential of acquiring a star to go along with their prospective young core. Prokhorov would have to be smart, however, in deciding which players he deems worthy. 

If a Kevin Durant type can't be had, it would be in Brooklyn's best interest to save some of that money instead of spending it all on the next-best option, who might then be overpaid due to a lack of "stars" in supply. 

Spending recklessly and bringing in players past their prime at the expense of youth must be a thing of the past. With patience and prudent spending, Prokhorov will be the reason the Brooklyn Nets win consistently.