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Bids For the Nets? From Russia, With Ca$h

Oct 29, 2008 – 11:10 AM
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Tom Ziller

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Yesterday morning, the Essentials pointed to a New York Daily News report which indicated Nets controlling owner Bruce Ratner -- the dude building Brooklyn's monument to commerce and basketball -- might be looking to sell off his NBA team. Yahoo!'s Adrian Wojnarowski (possibly the best investigative reporter among NBA scribes) sleuthed around and came up with a piece which says this:
Ratner has listened to overtures of two prospective foreign ownership groups, two league executives with knowledge of the talks told Yahoo! Sports.

The most serious advance, sources say, were made in recent months by Russian oligarchs, tycoons invested in the country's oil industry. The Russians' working plan would've been for full ownership of the Nets and control of the Atlantic Yards project in Brooklyn, one source said. Also, a Middle Eastern group, based in Dubai, expressed interest to the NBA and Nets ownership.
NBA, meet the EPL. The Nets wouldn't be the world's first major league team to be owned by Russian oligarchs, nor would it be the last. This isn't even new for American professional basketball: Russian tycoon Shabtai von Kalmonovic has built a league in Russia which draws the top WNBA players during the offseason.

But an NBA team moving into NYC Proper within a few years ... foreign ownership would be huge news. Russian ownership might cause the fabric of the basketball universe to tear. Fans were worried about petro dollars luring LeBron to Europe. Is the reverse (LeBron drawing petro dollars to America) worse?
Filed under: Sports