The Brooklyn Nets have become the NBA’s big spenders. They have the largest payroll in the league at $102.8 million and a tax bill that was nearly that much. The Nets will remain a heavy taxpayer next year — without options, the Nets owe $85.9 million for next year’s roster — and there is very little relief in sight.
Not helping matters is the dismal performance of Deron Williams, the team’s purported star, and the constant injury issues for Brook Lopez. Kevin Garnett and Joe Johnson just continue to soldier on.
At least they could when they had a coach. Jason Kidd ruined that when he made a vicious power play to reshape the Nets franchise in his image and ended up shipped off to the Bucks.
Change is coming to Brooklyn. The bottom line will dictate it. Zach Lowe of Grantland reports the Nets lost an estimated $144 million in basketball operations last season. Far more than any other team in a league that is generally pretty profitable with an owner-friendly collective bargaining agreement:
The basketball side of the Nets’ business is projected to have lost $144 million over the 2013-14 season, according to a confidential memo the league sent to all 30 teams in early June. (Grantland has reviewed and verified the memo with a half-dozen sources.) If that strikes you as out of whack, that’s because it is.
The NBA expects nine teams will end up having lost money once luxury-tax distribution and revenue-sharing payments are finalized. The Nets, with that monster $144 million figure, are the biggest losers. Next in line? The Wizards, with projected losses of about $13 million. That’s right: The Nets lost $131 million more than any other NBA team last season. This is what happens when you pay $90 million in luxury tax for an aging roster and play in a market so large you are ineligible to receive any revenue-sharing help.
Mikhail Prokhorov is loaded, but the number is still pretty jarring. Especially considering how little other teams are losing. At least the Nets have a Playoff appearance, albeit a short one, to show for it.
The Nets wanted to make a big splash in their move to Brooklyn and they certainly did that with the big roster moves and money they threw around. But the success is not there and no one suspects this is a championship team. Not for a few years.
The disaster of Kidd’s ouster is going to linger over the franchise for the year as he had really grown into a decent coach. His sophomore year with this Nets squad could very well have been much better than the first when he needed some time to figure things out as a coach and as a team.
Brooklyn will not become profitable (at least on the basketball side) until the roster cuts some costs and gets back to building a winning team rather than putting together B-plus All-Star teams.
Until then, Prokhorov appears to be throwing money away.