NBA News and Rumors – September 23, 09

Report: Russian to bid $700M for Nets

Miami Heat coach Erik Spoelstra’s deal extended

Kevin Johnson, worried Sacramento could lose Kings, to push for NBA arena

Wolves waive Atkins with camp a week away
Report: Russian to bid $700M for Nets


Reuters reports Russia’s richest man, Mikhail Prokhorov, confirmed a takeover bid for the New Jersey Nets on his blog Tuesday.

The report says "Prokhorov’s proposals, sent to existing Nets shareholders [over] the weekend, would see his Onexim group provide a loan to build a substantial part of a new arena, according to a post on his website."

"Sources close to the billionaire have previously estimated the overall value of any deal at $700 million," according to Reuters.

NBA officials declined comment, but the Nets said last week they have received interest from potential investors in the team.

"I don’t think players really care who owns the team," team president Rod Thorn said today. "Whatever happens, I think it will get resolved in a timely fashion."

Prokhorov, a 44-year-old former banker and mining executive, reportedly "is flush with money after cashing out of assets in 2008 before the global crisis caused commodity prices to crash."

Miami Heat coach Erik Spoelstra’s deal extended


The Heat has extended coach Erik Spoelstra’s contract in the wake of Spoelstra and all the employees in basketball operations, including president Pat Riley, accepting voluntary pay cuts to eliminate the need for layoffs.

Spoelstra also confirmed that forward Michael Beasley — who left a Houston rehabilitation facility Sunday — was at AmericanAirlines Arena on Monday, where players are working out informally, and has improved his game significantly this summer.

Beasley, who is in the league’s substance-abuse program because of a marijuana incident at the NBA’s rookie symposium last summer, was required to stay 30 days in the inpatient program at the Houston facility after violating one of the program’s rules.

“He’s ready to go. He’s excited,” Spoelstra said Monday. “We’re 100 percent behind him. We’ve invested in him not only financially but emotionally. He really had a terrific summer of development.”

Kevin Johnson, worried Sacramento could lose Kings, to push for NBA arena

Ryan Lillis and Tony Bizjak

After learning that Arco Arena is considered unsuitable to host a major college basketball tournament, Mayor Kevin Johnson said Tuesday that Sacramento could lose the Kings if efforts for a new arena aren’t stepped up.

"If we don’t have a clear path to an arena in the not too distant future, then we as Sacramentans need to know that (the Kings) very well may look elsewhere," Johnson said.

The mayor made his statements after finding out the NCAA had bypassed Sacramento’s bid to host the regional round of the men’s basketball tournament. Arco Arena has hosted the money-making event four times since 1994.

Most recently, in 2007, fans filled the arena, and the event injected $4 million into the local economy, officials said.

Sacramento Sports Commission officials said they were told the city’s bid to host tournament games through 2013 had been denied because of concerns over the conditions at Arco Arena.

Wolves waive Atkins with camp a week away

Jerry Zgoda

Now that he has signed Ramon Sessions and Sasha Pavlovic, David Kahn is moving onto what last week called some “bookkeeping” matters with training camp scheduled to start a week from today in Mankato.

The Wolves on Tuesday waived veteran guard Chucky Atkins, agreeing to pay him the due $760,000 for a $3.48 million contract that was most non-guaranteed. That cost savings is why Kahn traded Etan Thomas and two future second-round picks to Oklahoma City in late July for Atkins and Damien Wilkins.

At the time, Kahn hinted that Atkins’ contract might soon be traded away for another piece of the proverbial puzzle. That never happened, and Tuesday they cashed in the $2.72 million savings themselves.

Also expect veteran center and former Timberwolf Mark Blount — and his $7.96 million expiring contract — to be waived in the next week.

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