Analysis, News

Mikhail Prokhorov and the Nets Would Be Smart to Invest in International Scouting

With Brooklyn Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov recently purchasing the remaining stake of the team and Barclays Arena, it appears he is invested in this team for the long haul. No more empty promises like his guarantee to bring a title to Brooklyn within his first five years with the team or he would get married (he rescinded his pledge to get married last summer). It’s time for Prokhorov to ditch his desire of instant gratification and instead build a foundation that best suits the long-term progression of this stale franchise.

King’s contract runs out at the conclusion of this season and many have already been wondering what Prokhorov’s next move is.

Recently, a report at indicated that Prokhorov had his eyes set on Audrey Vatutin, the president of CSKA Moscow. CSKA Moscow won the 2006-07, 2007-08, 2008-09, 2009-10 Russian Superleague and the 2006-07, 2007-08, 2008-09, 2009-10, 2010-11, 2011-12, 2012-13, 2013-14, 2014-15 Russian Championships with Vatutin at the helm. Vatutin told RealGM in 2012 of a three-year development plan that he implemented with his team. He discusses how it is impossible to only manage the current season without planning ahead in the future, something Nets GM Billy King or Prokhorov haven’t put much thought into their agenda the past five years.

The Nets don’t have much in terms of draft picks over the next three years, but they do finally get significantly under the salary cap and have the freedom to sign more prestigious free agents. Next year their team payroll drops to $59 million and the cap then is expected to increase to around $90 million. It would make sense for Prokhorov to invest in international scouting and use their familiarity of knowing the market in Europe to bring over talent where players can cover up holes left with the loss of the next couple years of draft picks. As we have seen the past couple years, guys like Nikola Mirotic of the Chicago Bulls and the potential impact of Dario Saric of the Philadelphia Sixers have and will possibly contribute dynamic impacts in today’s NBA. With the league transforming now into the small-ball evolution and the three-and-D spacing attack, European players have long been known to be fantastic spacers at any position.

I don’t know if Vatutin is the answer as the next general manager, but I sure as hell know that with King’s past hiccups, Prokhorov is going to have to think outside the box to fix this franchise from further destruction. Let’s be real, over the next few years, free agent stars will not look at Brooklyn as a top destination due to its porous roster. The logical solution is to use that money and sign an assortment of international role players, building a foundation around Brook Lopez and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson that can at least give fans something to look forward to.