Brooklyn Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov said the team needs “one more good player” to reach the top level of the National Basketball Association, and that it remains on track to fulfill his prediction of a title by 2015.
The Nets beat the Chicago Bulls 106-89 in Brooklyn on April 20 in the first game of their opening-round playoff series. The two teams play again tonight at 8 p.m.
In an interview with Bloomberg Television in Moscow on April 19, Prokhorov said the team needs “only two things” to reach the level of the defending-champion Miami Heat and Oklahoma City Thunder, who met in the NBA Finals last season.
“One more good player, and we need time to make a really strong team,” Prokhorov said.
The Nets were 49-33 during the regular season, their first since the team moved into Brooklyn’s Barclays Center from New Jersey. In the offseason, the Nets acquired six-time All-Star Joe Johnson and brought back point guard Deron Williams, a three-time All-Star.
Center Brook Lopez led the team with 19.4 points per game. Williams scored 18.9 points per game, and added a team-high 7.7 assists per game.
Prokhorov declared when he bought the team in 2010 that it would win an NBA title by the end of the 2014-2015 season, and said last week it remains on track. The 47-year-old billionaire said the prediction could fulfill itself this year because in sports, “every team have a chance.”
“If we have a great team spirit, great passion, we can beat anyone in the league,” he said. “We are not underdogs, that’s for sure.”
Signing another elite player might prove difficult for Prokhorov and the Nets, who have the third-highest payroll in the league behind the Los Angeles Lakers and Heat, according to ESPN. Brooklyn’s payroll is roughly $83.1 million, over the leaguewide salary cap. It will have to pay about $12.8 million in luxury taxes this season, the network said last month.
Prokhorov was speaking at an event in Moscow promoting a hip-hop dance group from Philadelphia which he has brought to Russia as part of a cultural exchange program he sponsors with the Brooklyn Academy of Music.
-- With assistance from Ryan Chilcote in London. Editors: Michael Sillup, Jay Beberman