Mikhail Prokhorov: 'I'm sure next season, we'll be, I hope, championship contender'
No one has ever criticized Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov for a lack of optimism.
Not when he guaranteed a championship within his first five years of owning the organization. Not when he commandeered a trade that brought Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce to town while sending away years' worth of draft picks. Not while he made coaching change after coaching change hoping for something to be better in the future.
Speaking with the media Monday for the first time following the weekend firings of general manager Billy King and head coach Lionel Hollins, Prokhorov continued that mentality:
"I’m sure next season, we’ll be, I hope, championship contender."
“Frankly speaking, I deserve a championship now much more than six years ago,” Prokhorov said. “I think we have been really bold, and we did our best in order to reach a championship. And I still believe with some luck our results might have been more promising. But, I’ll do my best to make us a championship team.
“If we compare now and six years ago, we have a state-of-the-art arena in New York, we’ll have a fascinating training facility and it will open I think next month. We’ll have a D-League team. We’ll have a big amount of money under the cap next season. We have everything the best. I’m really optimistic. Now I’m 100 percent owner of the team and the arena and I’m very committed to be championship and I’m all in."
That's a heck of a way to view the future for a team that doesn't own its first-round pick until 2019. That blind optimism is what hurt the Nets in the past, though. Thinking you're closer to the top than you actually are calls for moves of delusion, like giving up pieces that are valuable to a rebuilding effort just so you can increase a few wins or so.
When you're good, those few wins can be the difference. When you're not, they mean nothing. Hopefully for Nets fans, Prokhorov's comments are more a statement on his hopes than what he perceives as reality.