New Nets owner Mikail Prokhorov said Wednesday that he has no interest in buying the Islanders and moving them to a new Nets arena in Brooklyn.
"No. You have to walk before you run," Prokhorov told reporters. "First, we have to win a championship title in basketball before we can look around."
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Prokhorov was speaking a day after the Nets had a disappointing night in the NBA draft lottery. The Nets, who had the best chance to land the No. 1 pick next month, ended up at third overall.
The NBA's Board of Governors approved Prokhorov as the Nets' principal owner last week. The Nets will play the next two seasons in Newark before moving to a new basketball arena in Brooklyn.
When Islanders owner Charles Wang announced last October that he was looking into his options outside of Nassau County - such as selling or relocating the franchise - he joked, "I am learning Russian."
That was an obvious reference to Prokhorov, who seemingly had come out of nowhere to purchase the Nets.
Wang is waiting to hear back from the Town of Hempstead, which is creating a new zone for a scaled-down version of Wang's proposed Lighthouse project, a $3.8-billion mixed-use development that includes a refurbished arena. Town of Hempstead supervisor Kate Murray has said the new plans should be announced in June.
Last week, Mets chief operating officer Jeff Wilpon told Newsday that he has spoken with Wang about moving the Islanders to a new arena in the Willets Point area next to Citi Field. Wilpon also said he is open to taking over ownership of the Islanders someday.
With Jim Baumbach