Last night's game was most likely the last visit the Knicks will make to the Meadowlands. The Nets have already begun construction on the Atlantic Yards project in Brooklyn and before the move across the Hudson River, they're in discussions to switch their home games to the Prudential Center in Newark for next season.
What would appear to be a no-brainer is being held up officially by New Jersey Gov.-elect Chris Christie, who has the power to waive a $7.5-million penalty for breaking the lease with the New Jersey Sports Authority, which runs IZOD Center. The lease goes through 2013, but the Nets plan to be in the Barclays Center by then. And when you're losing about $40 million a season - as has been reported - playing in the badly situated arena, you'll lay out $7.5 million if you have to.
The ownership transition to Russian billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov is expected to be approved by the NBA Board of Governors in early 2010. Prokhorov's people have made it abundantly clear that he will not hesitate to spend - including in free agency - to make the Nets a championship contender.
Though the Nets have been a flop on the court this season, there is a lot of positive momentum off it, starting with the arrival of Prokhorov as the majority owner with Bruce Ratner taking a reduced role. And Ratner's pet project, the Brooklyn plan, finally became reality earlier this month when a New York Court of Appeals permitted use of eminent domain at the site to put an end to litigation against the project. Yormark said the plan is for the Nets to make their Brooklyn debut sometime in 2012.
Yormark also said that the Nets are, indeed, open to adding a tenant to share the building. The Islanders are obviously at the top of that list.
"As the opportunities present themselves to us, we'll explore them all," Yormark said. "Yes, we can play hockey there. We'll just have to play that out at some point in time."