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Russian billionaire might buy, move Nets to Brooklyn

In this artist's rendering released by SHoP Architects,

In this artist's rendering released by SHoP Architects, this is the proposed design for the Brooklyn home of the New Jersey Nets. (September 9, 2009) Credit: AP

The Nets' long-awaited move to Brooklyn might be made by a Russian. Mikhail Prokhorov, Russia's richest man, has made a bid to take over the Nets and push the financially struggling NBA franchise through the final phase of Bruce Ratner's Atlantic Yards project.

Prokhorov, 44, a former nickel magnate and current chairman of Russia's largest gold producing company, has an estimated net worth of $9.5 billion, according to Forbes. He said on his blog that he was initially approached by the Nets about joining in on the $4-billion Brooklyn development plan, which includes a new arena for the Nets and has been slowed by political and financial hurdles.

The Nets, NBA and Ratner each had no comment last night.

Prokhorov said on his blog that his counteroffer was to extend credit toward the Atlantic Yards project "to build a new arena in Brooklyn" and controlling interest in the team "for a symbolic price." Reuters cited sources that estimated the overall price Prokhorov would pay for the arena project and the franchise to be about $700 million.

Ratner, the New York real estate mogul, is currently the team's majority owner.

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