Joseph Tsai

Atlantic Notes: Porzingis, Kurucs, McCaw, Tsai

Kristaps Porzingis has missed nearly an entire calendar year since he suffered a torn ACL but his recovery is going well, Newsday’s Steve Popper writes. The Latvian is expected to miss the Knicks‘ four-day trip to London next week when the team faces the Wizards, but Porzingis’ recent practices have been encouraging.

“I don’t see a drop,” head coach David Fizdale said. “That I don’t see. I haven’t seen him move in a way that makes me go “uh-oh.” I think we’re going about it the right way. His body looks great. He looks strong, he’s defined. It’s just a matter of time, and when we get him, we’ll be happy.”

As we relayed on Friday, Porzingis has passed the point of meeting the starter criteria for restricted free agency this summer. Thus, the Knicks’ qualifying offer drops from $7.5MM to $4.5MM. His cap hold will be $17.1MM and he will qualify for a $158MM contract over five years with a starting salary set at $27.25MM.

The Knicks, currently 10-32 in the Eastern Conference, are setting themselves up for a top-five draft pick this summer. A healthy Porzingis would go a long way to helping New York compete next season.

Check out more Atlantic Division notes:

  • Fellow Latvian Rodions Kurucs has fared well for the Nets after being selected 40th overall in the second round this past summer. Kurucs has been solid on both sides of the ball and eclipsed both his and the team’s expectations, Chris Milholen and Net Income of NetsDaily write.
  • Patrick McCaw‘s first few months of the season have been eventful. He sat out the start of the year as he looked to maximize his earnings from the Warriors as an RFA, then signed an offer sheet with Cleveland. However, days later, the Cavaliers waived him. After signing with the Raptors, he’s thrilled with the new opportunity, Laura Armstrong of The Toronto Star writes.
  • Nets minority owner Joseph Tsai is reportedly close to acquiring the WNBA’s New York Liberty, the AP’s Doug Fienberg reports. Tsai purchased 49% of the Nets in April 2018 and the James Dolan-owned Liberty — which were placed for sale in November 2017 — are close to being added to his portfolio.

Joe Tsai Completes Purchase Of 49% Stake In Nets

Mikhail Prokhorov has officially sold a 49% stake in the Nets to new minority owner Joseph Tsai, according to Scott Soshnick of Bloomberg (Twitter link). Soshnick writes that the Nets received an overall valuation of $2.35 billion in the transaction, a new NBA record.

“As a lifelong sports fan, I am very proud to join the Nets ownership and the NBA family,” Tsai said in a statement, per the Nets’ official announcement. “I lived in New York in the early days of my career and the City holds a special place in my heart. I share the vision and culture that Mikhail Prokhorov, CEO Brett Yormark, general manager Sean Marks and head coach Kenny Atkinson have put in place, and I look forward to being part of this great franchise.”

Tsai’s agreement to buy a significant share in the Nets was reported way back in October of 2017, but took some time to finalize. In addition to giving the Alibaba executive vice chairman and co-founder a significant stake in the Nets, the deal will also give him the opportunity to buy the franchise outright from Prokhorov in three years.

As has been previous reported, Prokhorov will continue to oversee Brooklyn’s basketball and business operations for the next few years, but Tsai will have the option to assume controlling interest in the franchise in 2021.

The NBA’s Board of Governors unanimously approved Tsai’s purchase of 49% of the Nets.

New York Notes: Knicks, Ntilikina, Nets, Stauskas

With the Lakers playing the Knicks on Tuesday, Luke Walton was asked about his old coach, Phil Jackson, and admitted that Jackson’s ouster in New York didn’t sit particularly well with him, per Al Iannazzone of Newsday.

“I don’t know all the details of what was going on here, obviously, but a mentor to me like that and someone that means as much to me as Phil does, I’m not in favor of it happening,” the current Lakers head coach said of Jackson. “There’s people out here that I wanted to see succeed. I love the triangle offense. I wanted to see that work. But for whatever reasons it didn’t.”

Here’s more out of New York:

  • Kristaps Porzingis and Frank Ntilikina are showing Knicks fans that it’s okay to be optimistic about the club’s future, says ESPN’s Ian Begley. In praising Ntilikina, Begley notes that the rookie point guard is “low maintenance,” adding that there were some in the Knicks organization who had serious concerns before the draft about LaVar Ball’s impact in the event that the team had a chance to pick Lonzo Ball.
  • Sources tell Brian Lewis of The New York Post that the Nets‘ deal to have Joseph Tsai buy a 49% stake in the franchise could be done by the end of the month. Although it’s not finalized yet, controlling owner Mikhail Prokhorov referred to Tsai as “a great partner” who “will help the game and help the NBA.”
  • While Jahlil Okafor was the primary piece in last week’s trade between the Nets and the Sixers, the deal also gave Brooklyn coach Kenny Atkinson another reclamation project to work on. As Lewis writes for The Post, it will be interesting to see what Atkinson – who has a reputation as a “guard whisperer” – can get out of Nik Stauskas.

Joseph Tsai Buying 49 Percent Stake In Nets

Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov has reached an agreement to sell a 49% minority stake in the Nets to Alibaba executive vice chairman and co-founder Joseph Tsai, according to Adrian Wojnarowski and Zach Lowe of ESPN. League sources tell the ESPN duo that Tsai’s purchase will be based on a $2.3 billion valuation of the franchise.

As Wojnarowski and Lowe detail, the agreement between Prokhorov and Tsai will give the new investor the option to take over a majority interest in the franchise in the not-too-distant future. The plan is for Prokhorov to remain the principal and operating owner of the Nets for four more years, with the assumption that he’ll sell his stake once Tsai triggers his option.

As long as Tsai controls just 49% of the team, Prokhorov will continue to oversee the Nets’ basketball and business operations, sources tell the ESPN duo.

Reports of Prokhorov’s willingness to sell 49% of the Nets, with a path to controlling ownership for the new minority shareholder, have surfaced throughout the year. Tsai, whose Alibaba Group is a massive Chinese e-commerce company, had been cited as a possible buyer multiple times, despite the fact that a spokesperson repeatedly denied his interest.

The $2.3 billion valuation on Tsai’s purchase of the Nets is somewhat surprising. Although Brooklyn is certainly a favorable market, the club has won just 41 total games in the last two years, and currently lacks superstar talent. The agreement also doesn’t include ownership of the Barclays Center, the team’s arena. Nonetheless, the $2.3 billion valuation is a new record for an NBA franchise, surpassing the Rockets’ $2.2 billion sale price from earlier this year.

[RELATED: Tilman Fertitta Approved To Buy Rockets For $2.2 Billion]

Although the Nets haven’t enjoyed much on-court success in recent years, Tsai has “expressed enthusiasm over the direction of the franchise,” and has confidence in GM Sean Marks and head coach Kenny Atkinson, sources tell Wojnarowski and Lowe. Tsai intends to take advantage of his strong business ties in Asia to create “global business opportunities” for the Nets.

Latest On Nets’ Ownership Situation

Reports on a potential sale of the Nets have surfaced throughout the offseason, with current owner Mikhail Prokhorov publicly conveying a desire to sell up to 49% of the franchise and denying reports suggesting that he’d be willing to give up control of the team.

This week, a pair of new reports have provided some updates on that process, so let’s dive in and round up the highlights…

  • Prokhorov is getting closer to selling the Nets, and multiple suitors are in the running to purchase 49% of the franchise, sources tell Josh Kosman of The New York Post. The proposed sale wouldn’t include ownership of Brooklyn’s Barclays Center, per Kosman.
  • Although a potential buyer would only receive a minority stake in the club at this point, the proposed agreement would give that investor the right to buy a larger stake and become controlling owner of the franchise within three years, Kosman reports.
  • In the wake of the Rockets selling for $2.2 billion, Prokhorov is seeking a sale price that values the Nets at over $2 billion as well. That means a 49% share of the franchise could be worth in the neighborhood of $1 billion.
  • Two sources told Jessica Toonkel and Olivia Oran of Reuters that Alibaba executive vice chairman Joe Tsai is in advanced talks to buy a stake in the Nets. However, Alibaba spokesperson Jennifer Kuperman called it a “false” report. “Joe Tsai has never talked to the seller and he is not purchasing any stake in the Brooklyn Nets,” Kuperman said in a statement.
  • Reuters’ initial report indicated that an agreement with Tsai could be finalized within the next few weeks, with a franchise valuation of about $2.2 billion. However, those sources cautioned that the deal could still fall apart.
  • Kosman, who has previously reported Tsai’s interest in the Nets – which Alibaba denied at that time too – was unable to confirm whether the Taiwanese billionaire is currently in talks with the team.