When Mikahil Prokhorov became the New Jersey Nets' new owner, he had a brilliant plan in his mind.
He embarked to explore a completely new territory, the United States Of America, (he owned a basketball team before, CSKA Moska, in Russia).
Initially, he tried to buy the New York Knicks, but when he couldn't, he settled for the Nets.
He knew that this team would be relocated in Brooklyn with a much improved marketing exposure, a key move to build a winning future.
Prokhorov could become the first person to seriously export the NBA brand overseas, and his desire to transform the Nets into a global franchise was crystal-clear from the beginning of his American venture.
A new era has certainly begun for professional basketball, since before Prokhorov, no US team was owned by a foreign person.
The fact that New Jersey became the first-ever NBA team to win the first-ever regular season game played in European territory is very meaningful and is a pleasing coincidence for Prokhorov and his future plans to become a global NBA ambassador.
Many pieces of the puzzle are already in place, even if there’s so much work to do to improve the team.
Nets’ winning tradition is far from excellent: New Jersey was perennially overshadowed by the real New York team, the Knicks, and its history was often filled with mediocrity.
The Nets got to the NBA Finals on two occasions when Jason Kidd was running the show.
With Jason Kidd, Kenyon Martin and Richard Jefferson’s services, New Jersey was able to accomplish a lot.
The Nets became the NY-area winning team; the cross-town rival Knicks were saddled with crippling financial troubles.
After the teams big three left town, the team had no identity, and looked destined for yearly failure. That is until Prokhorov entered the frame.
Prokhorov outlined a blueprint for success: have a top-notch point guard and center.
The Nets selected a potentially dominant center in the 2008 Draft, Brook Lopez and traded for Deron Williams.
Williams can dominate for years to come, but Prokhorov must find a way to retain him when he reaches free-agent status at the end of 2012 season.
Williams said that if the team does well, he will stay, so the onus is once again on Prokhorov to build a winning team around the two mainstays.
The Russian billionaire has already begun to discuss team’s future plans with Williams. He briefly met him after a loss against San Antonio and continued the conversation in London, the perfect environment to do so.
He told Williams how serious he is about winning, and Williams seemed satisfied.
The team paid a visit to the Barclays Bank’s London headquarters—Barclays will sponsor the new Brooklyn arena—and Williams was put in a position where he could potentially become a global basketball icon.
Prokhorov desires to sell the Nets’ brand everywhere, expanding his team’s fame globally and perhaps playing a role in NBA’s future European developments, which could see a complete division outside the United States borders within the next 10 years.
Deron Williams would emerge as the point guard of a team with fans from all over the world, which in turn could attract top free agents, and make the Nets a championship level team.
Deron was the most greeted player in England; Prokhorov is trying to convince him that he could become the most greeted player in the world.
In 2012 they will move to a new arena, creating excitement in Brooklyn, the place where they intend to forever change the team’s old culture.
Can the first non-American owner in NBA history re-sign his team's biggest star paving the way to a possible Championship?
As of now, things all seem to be in the right place. Deron and the Nets could have the opportunity to become a perennial force.
Don’t underestimate that during your decision process, Mr. Williams.