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Open Letter TO Mikhail Prokhorov, owner of The Brooklyn Nets!

On Wednesday, Brooklyn Nets owner, Mikhail Prokhorov sent an open letter to Nets fans about the eight lessons that he has learned since taking ownership of the franchise back in 2010. With the Nets current state of affairs (also read dysfunction, chaos, complete mess, etc.) with the lack of assets by way of draft picks for the future, the firing of head coach, Lionel Hollins, and the fact the Nets STILL - all together now…

STILL DON’T HAVE A GENERAL MANAGER!

…has everyone in the NBA wondering how in the world the Nets got in this mess and, more importantly, how they can get out. After that train wreck of a presentation of the new $50-million training facilities, Prokhorov sent out the letter. Some think it’s a “Mea Culpa”, some think it’s just another episode in the world of dysfunction that surrounds the Brooklyn Nets. With no direction, no GM, and no coach (No disrespect to Tony Brown but he’s history in a few months), Mikhail Prokhorov may be trying to shine the light for the last five season ticket holders left in the Barclays Center.

I’m going to assume that Mikhail Prokhorov is serious about turning this franchise around. But being serious doesn’t mean that he can. So Brooklyn’s Finest will send an open letter to Mikhail Prokhorov, on behalf of the last two fans that actually claim to be Brooklyn fans.

Mr. Prokhorov,

Soon you will be marking the sixth year of ownership of the Brooklyn Nets. I would like to congratulate you on obtaining full ownership of the team, buying out Bruce Ratner’s ownership and taking on this journey. It should be an exciting time for you and your team of advisors. With all of your attention on closing that deal with the NBA and Commissioner Adam Silver, the timing of your “fresh start” with a new general manager (any Idea when?) and head coach (got any ideas?). I read your lessons and I felt I could give out some pointers of my own. The way I see it, everybody’s a teacher.

Lesson 1: Some Things Money Can’t Buy.

You’re right about this. The one thing that can’t be bought that the Brooklyn Nets need is substance. Look I get it, moving to Brooklyn out of New Jersey was a good idea. You had a vision of changing the culture to distance yourself from the “Dr. J” curse. It is totally understood that you had to get some players on your team that people would actually pay to see. I mean look at the team now. The record for attendance futility this year is no accident. This team has been labeled as boring. The team you had on paper with Deron Williams and Joe Johnson in the backcourt, along with Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce, would bring fans to the seats. They did what they were supposed to do. They got the Nets to the playoffs three years in a row. That’s saying something considering that prior to that the team hasn’t been good since Jason Kidd left town… AS A PLAYER!

But you forgot one important thing. The players needed a coach that would stick around for more time than it takes me to write this letter. You are about to hire what seems like the 567th coach in the six years you’ve been owner. You did accomplish what you wanted, you made splashy moves and made it fun. I would like to personally thank you for letting Jay-Z be an owner for a minute. Granted you used him to make the move to Brooklyn smoother, but with Jay-Z comes Beyoncé. At least we got to see her in the front row from time to time.

But you know what they say; if there is a splash, eventually you have to clean up. Well it’s clean up time.

Lesson 2: Strategy Beats Opportunity

When there is no substance, there is no foundation. When there is no foundation, there is no strategy. But your situation does not apply here. You did have a concept. You had a star player to build around. His name was Deron Williams. You gave him a five year, $100-million contract. He was a top five point guard at the time. That’s a star player. If you wanted young players, you would not have won a NBA title in five years like you bet everyone you would. By the way, are you married yet?  You talk mettle, commitment and heart. You had Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Joe Johnson on the same team? Defensive based team? Did you ever meet Kevin Garnett?

Lesson 3: Culture trumps talent

You say “It takes guts to say ‘no’ as much as it does to say ‘yes’.” Okay if that is the case, why is it widely reported that the people that say no disappears? I hate to bring up the 743 coaches you’ve had in your tenure but that is a problem. High turnover shines badly on management. If players have to play for a different coach every day, how can morale be built? You talked concept. If someone says no and disappears they can’t speak out to build the concept you want. Talent does help sometimes. Jason Kidd could coach an AAU team while he was in Brooklyn. My guess is that Garnett, Pierce, and other players on the team banded together and used their experience to will the team to the playoffs. The Nets have no talent right now because the culture ran your talent off.

Lesson 4: Brooklyn means business

If you haven’t figured that out yet. You need to sell this team ASAP. New York is the number one market in the United States. To quote Frank Sinatra: “If you can make it there, you can make it anywhere!” New Yorkers know their basketball and will let you know if you stink. Your problem as a owner is that the New Yorkers have an option in Madison Square Garden. I appreciate the media shout out though. The Nets media do work hard. It’s difficult to find different ways to explain how your team loses all the time.

Lesson 5: Losing and Winning Go Hand In Hand

You’re right. Losing and winning do go hand in hand. Either you win or you lose. The problem is the Nets lose a lot more than win these days. What’s worse, the team loses more employees than games. You’re right about the controversy, the “Develop, Don’t Destroy Brooklyn” movement could have turned fans off. It didn’t. The team that you put on the floor now does.

Lesson 6: The best things in life are free?

If that was the case, you would give the staff of Brooklyn’s Finest free tickets. My father, Walter Agers, has been trying to get back to New York for years. Got a ticket for him?

Here’s the point. Everything costs. There is no free lunch. I’m sure the $24.9 million you’re paying Joe Johnson dispels that theory. Whoever came up with that cliché probably knew the people who came up with Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, and the Tooth Fairy.

Hold up, you mean they aren’t real? Nope they don’t exist. Like those first round picks until 2019.

Lesson 7: Howdy, Stranger

Key word here… STRANGER! Where have you been? Trust me, the problems of this franchise have been going on for years. Six years ago, you came in peace, left, wasn’t seen for 90 percent of your tenure and there are running bets on when you’re going back to Russia. Here’s a term New Yorkers use when they say goodbye… Peace. You came in peace and said “Peace” and haven’t been seen for the most part since that 60 minutes piece they did on you after you bought the team.

Lesson 8: To Err is Human

Mr. Prokhorov, you are right. To err is human. We all make mistakes. But you know what they say about insanity according to Albert Einstein…

“Insanity: Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”

The Sean Marks situation is a problem. Granted, you admit that Billy King was a mistake. The 4,000 coaches that you’ve had might have been a tip-off, but why harp on that. But the way you handled it at the practice facility opening was bad, sir. Real bad. You need a GM that can tell you no. More important, he should be a GM that runs a smooth ship so all you have to do is sign those expensive checks you talk about. Marks said no and you acted like a scorned lover that acted like he/she wasn’t interested in the first place.

Lessons learned? We’ll see.

I hope this helps you.

Sincerely,

Ronald E. Agers

P.S.

I realize the next coach you hire will be the sixth. The numbers in this letter actually SEEM like it. But still, six coaches in six years is not a good look either. Turnover, Mr. Prokhorov, turnover.