Joseph Tsai Reportedly Buys 49 Percent Stake in Nets from Mikhail Prokhorov

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistApril 12, 2018

BROOKLYN, NY - OCTOBER 5:  The Brooklyn Nets logo before the game against the Miami Heat during a preseason game on October 5, 2017 at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2017 NBAE (Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images)
Nathaniel S. Butler/Getty Images

Alibaba Group co-founder Joseph Tsai reportedly has purchased 49 percent of the Brooklyn Nets from Mikhail Prokhorov along with the "right to buy controlling interest in the team," according to Brian Lewis of the New York Post

The sale "would value the Nets at $2.35 billion, a record for the NBA," though it does not include ownership of the Barclays Center. However, it will give Tsai the chance to purchase more shares in 2021 in order to take over controlling interest of the team.

Tsai released a statement on Thursday:

"As a lifelong sports fan, I am very proud to join the Nets ownership and the NBA family. I lived in New York in the early days of my career and the City holds a special place in my heart. I share the vision and culture that Mikhail Prokhorov, CEO Brett Yormark, General Manager Sean Marks and Head Coach Kenny Atkinson have put in place, and I look forward to being part of this great franchise.

"Basketball is a global sport and the NBA is one of the most recognized brands in the world. I am excited about the NBA’s international growth prospects, and hope to play a part in bringing the NBA and the special character of the Brooklyn Nets to fans around the world."

Prokhorov bought the controlling stake in the Nets in 2009 and Onexim, his private investment fund, bought "20 percent of the Nets and 55 percent of Barclays Center operating rights it did not already own from Nets Sports and Entertainment for $1.7 billion" in 2015, per Mike Ozanian of Forbes.com.

"It was important to us that we choose a partner who shares our commitment to the highest standards as we create a truly wonderful NBA franchise," Prokhorov said of Tsai in a statement. "I welcome Joe to the organization and I am looking forward to working with him for years to come."

Tsai comes aboard at a moment when the organization is starting to show glimmers of hope for the future. The team has a few solid young players already on board such as D'Angelo Russell, Allen Crabbe, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, Jarrett Allen, Spencer Dinwiddie and Caris LeVert. While there aren't any superstars in that group, it's a solid foundation to build upon.

And the Nets will have their own first-round pick in the 2019 NBA draft after a disastrous trade with the Boston Celtics in 2014 that saw them give away their first-rounders in 2014, 2016 and 2018 and first-round swap rights in 2017. That sent the team's rebuilding plan back years, though the Nets managed to win 28 games this season even with Jeremy Lin injured for most of the year. 

The Nets have a long way to go, but with a solid coach in Kenny Atkinson and some quality transactions in recent years, it feels like the team is moving in a positive direction.

Related

    Report: Raptors in 'Driver's Seat' for Kawhi

    NBA logo
    NBA

    Report: Raptors in 'Driver's Seat' for Kawhi

    Joseph Zucker
    via Bleacher Report

    Hart Outduels Sexton as Lakers Beat Cavs

    NBA logo
    NBA

    Hart Outduels Sexton as Lakers Beat Cavs

    Scott Polacek
    via Bleacher Report

    Scores and Highlights from SL Semifinals

    NBA logo
    NBA

    Scores and Highlights from SL Semifinals

    Joseph Zucker
    via Bleacher Report

    Nets Considered Signing Jabari Parker

    Brooklyn Nets logo
    Brooklyn Nets

    Nets Considered Signing Jabari Parker

    Bryan Kalbrosky
    via HoopsHype