Nets get first crack at The King

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Billionaire owner Mikhail Prokhorov and Jay-Z will meet with The King on July 1. (Larry Busacca/Getty Images)

The LeBron Free Agency Tour is off, but the Nets will be the first team to woo the King on July 1 at his home in Akron, Ohio. Billionaire owner Mikhail Prokhorow, new coach Avery Johnson, possibly (and most likely) James’ long-time friend and rapper Jay-Z and team president Rod Thorn will head west to meet with LeBron.

According to the New York Post, the Nets have an elaborate recruiting pitch for The Chosen One, which centers around Prokhorov’s “global” vision. If James opts out of his contract with the Cavaliers and wants to be a billionaire global icon, then Prokhorov can make that happen. While the Knicks can wine and dine James and use New York City as their selling point, Prokhorov can offer pretty much everything else.

“He wants to win — and he’s made it very clear he wants to win — and we happen to have a lot of cap room,” Thorn said. “With his persona, with all the publicity and everything around his buying the team and his public pronouncements that he is going to do whatever it takes to have a top flight team, I think it’s got the attention of players and agents. People are at least curious.”

Prokhorov makes the Nets serious contenders — just as, if not more, intriguing than the Bulls, Heat and Knicks. Though their location — New Jersey for the next two years — is perhaps their biggest flaw, they have the money, talent to build around (Derrick Favors, Brook Lopez, Devin Harris, Terrence Williams and enough cap space for another max free agent, like Chris Bosh) and a completely overhauled front office if Thorn decides to step down as expected.

The Knicks, Cavs, Bulls, Heat and Clippers are expected to be next in line to meet with The King in July, but Prokhorov & Co. certainly make for a tough act to follow. And Dave Letterman said the Nets were a long-shot to get LeBron. Please. [New York Post]

By Nicki Jhabvala, NBA editor for SI.com
  • Published On Jun 26, 2010
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