Standing in Section 102 of the new $1 billion arena his team will play in, Mikhail Prokhorov once again sounded like someone who expects to see a special banner hanging up in those rafters relatively soon.
Sure, the Nets owner is supremely confident his franchise is going to make the NBA playoffs this season, essentially guaranteeing it Friday. But the Russian billionaire is even more matter of fact when talking about his visions for a NBA title by 2015.
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"We are on the right track and still I'm expecting our championship within three years now," Prokhorov said after Friday's ribbon cutting ceremony at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn.
But precisely what makes him so sure that's going to be the case?
"For me, there is only one place -- No. 1," Prokhorov said. "And I will do my best to win a championship."
General manager Billy King smiled when those words were relayed to him, something he's probably able to feel a little easier doing with the Nets' flurry of offseason moves, which included re-signing point guard Deron Williams and trading for shooting guard Joe Johnson.
Then again, Prokhorov hasn't truly moved up his timetable anyway.
"He said [within] five [twoyears ago], so we are down to three," King said. "To me, it's a great goal. I'd rather him say that than, 'I hope we win a championship at some point.' That's the goal and look forward to the challenge."
Coach Avery Johnson is in the final year of his deal and Prokhorov suggested he plans on keeping Johnson, King and the rest of the Nets' brain trust intact for the foreseeable future. He also seems genuinely enthralled with the prospect of opening up against the Knicks on Nov. 1 and showcasing their new home to a national television audience. He expects to attend at least 10 of the Nets' 41 home contests.
"I think it's the best arena in the world," Prokhorov said, "and what I like, we are bringing a very good team to play in this arena in the great borough of Brooklyn. I'm expecting a great rivalry with the Knicks.
"What could be better as a rivalry for New York City? We'll fight on the court. We'll see who's better . . . "I am really thirsting for the first of November."