Nets spare no expense in filling roster
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ORLANDO, Fla. - Say this much about Mikhail Prokhorov: The man isn't shy about throwing his millions around.
Prokhorov, the Nets billionaire owner, gave general manager Billy King the green light to pull the trigger on the expensive deals -- like the trade for Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett -- that have the Nets on the hook for a record tax bill. The Nets' payroll should hover around $98 million once the expected transactions go through over the next few days, meaning they could be slated to pay somewhere between $75 million to $80 million in luxury taxes upon completion of the 2013-14 season.
That's more than some teams' entire payroll.
"I think it's great for our fans, great for the organization, that we have an owner that's willing to spend the money, but I think: Spend it wisely," King said Wednesday. "We wouldn't have spent this if we didn't think it would help us to advance our common goal to win a championship, and that's what we are really trying to do. He believes in what we are doing."
King said the Nets have about a two-year window with their current roster, in part because they're projected to be repeat tax offenders the next two seasons. King doesn't want the Nets in that position beyond that time because the Nets could incur even more severe penalties.
That's why the Nets, who're currently in line to be below the tax threshold in 2015-16, are going all in now. Their major acquisition of Garnett, Pierce and Jason Terry should be finalized Friday once Kris Joseph is eligible to be traded. Their signings of Andray Blatche and Shaun Livingston should be official Thursday.
King is satisfied with the Nets' quintet of Deron Williams, Joe Johnson, Brook Lopez, Garnett and Pierce.
"Obviously, I like our starting five," he said. "I think we are pretty good there."
However, one player who won't be on board is Bojan Bogdanovic. Although the Nets reached an agreement on a proposed three-year deal with the 6-8 Croatian sharpshooter last week, the two sides couldn't settle on a buyout of his contract with Istanbul-based Fenerbahce. So the Nets are looking at alternatives.
"You think you had a deal done and he's coming over," Nets coach Jason Kidd said. "The guys in management will figure it out what's the plan, and which direction we will go now. Those guys can handle Plan B."
King said he felt a prospective free agent target would accept the Nets' mini midlevel exception. Still, he's generally pleased with the cast they've assembled, particularly since he believes the addition of Livingston gives them some versatility.
"Starting with the interview with Jason, and how he envisioned our players and moving guys at different positions," King said, "we wanted to be able to get to a point to allow Deron to go off the ball, and maybe allow Joe to go to '3.' As teams go small, we have the ability to go small and maybe move Kevin to '5' and Paul maybe to '4.' So, that's a thing, that we have the ability to go big and small."