Chris Broussard of ESPN.com writes that Mikhail Prokhorov has expressed to his staff that he is convinced Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh will play together in Miami, and that he thinks the Nets, Heat, Bulls and Cavs are in the running for LeBron James. Broussard writes:
After meeting with The Big Three of this summer's free agent class -- James, Wade and Bosh -- last week, Prokhorov held a conference call with some of his top executives from the Nets and Onexim, his holding company, to discuss his strategy and impressions.
ESPN.com has obtained notes from the meeting from a league source, and they provide interesting insight into the perceptions of the NBA's newest, most fascinating owner -- who above all, left his first foray into NBA free agency optimistic his Nets would soon be the home of James.
The Nets were the first of six teams to meet with James last week, and after what was, by most accounts, an impressive presentation, Prokhorov made these observations about James' decision-making process:
On the conference call, he categorized the options he believes James has before him:
The "hometown angle" of remaining with the Cleveland Cavaliers.
The choice to play with Wade and Bosh in Miami, where James would have a "very high chance to win two or three titles" but where he could also "diminish the LeBron brand."
Joining the Chicago Bulls, Los Angeles Clippers or New York Knicks. These options, according to Prokhorov, are similar from a basketball standpoint and he believes none of the three clubs have a clear-cut strategy for winning championships.
Becoming a member of the Nets, who would give James the best opportunity to build a dynasty, become a champion and emerge as a global icon. ... Prokhorov was very optimistic about the Nets' chances of landing James.
This fascinates me in so many ways. For one thing, it's just good insight into how one insider sees the process.
But what's especially interesting is that this strikes me as a very sophisticated analysis by Prokhorov, a guy who in March demonstrated some naivete about the NBA, for instance calling the championship "the NBA cup," saying he's the only NBA owner who can dunk when in fact one assumes Michael Jordan can, and calling this year's draft as good as the 2003 LeBron James draft.
The level of NBA talk attributed to Prokhorov in July is light years ahead of what we heard in March. That steep learning curve is impressive.
Prokhorov's approach in other businesses has been to seek out good people and delegate tons of authority to them. I am very curious to know whose NBA opinions he has come to trust by this point. Perhaps it's Rod Thorn -- the senior basketball mind at the Nets -- but there have been all kinds of reports that Thorn won't be with the Nets for the long haul. It almost seems like there must be more people in the conversation, and I'm curious to know who are the stars of Prokhorov's basketball universe.