There are a lot of positive things to say about Mikhail Prokhorov, a self-made billionaire, but he must be underestimating the loyalty of Knicks fans if he expects them to suddenly start following the New Jersey Nets!
"We're going to turn Knicks fans into Nets fans," he ambitiously told ESPN.
Knicks fans have toiled in oblivion for at least 10 years and they can see the light at the end of the tunnel now.
They are in the running for three of the best players in the league; LeBron James, Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh. If they can sign at least two of these guys it will signal a new era for New York hoops.
Now they have to worry about a team they more or less consider their little brother because they have a new Russian owner with deep pockets.
“How fast can we build a championship team? If everything goes as planned, I expect us to be in the playoffs next season and [win a] championship in one year minimum, and maximum in five years," Prokhorov said.
The Nets have a few assets at the moment, in the forms of Devin Harris and Brook Lopez. However, it would be crazy to expect them to lead the Nets to the Larry O'Brien Trophy next year after only winning 12 games this past season.
Clearly Prokhorov is expecting to attract a few quality free agents this year, the very same ones the Knicks are expecting to sign.
"I feel pretty sure I can convince the best of the best that the Nets are the place they want to be," he said.
If the Nets convince Wade and James or Bosh to join them, will Knicks fans decide enough is enough and start following the Nets?
They stuck with their team through the Scott Layden years, the Stephon Marbury and Isaiah Thomas hurricane, what would it take for them to drop the Knicks?
Short of Prokhorov mimicking Penguin (Batman Returns 1992) and releasing millions of dollars over Times Square, I can’t see this happening, but I am not a self-made billionaire.