NBA news roundup: Mikhail Prokhorov responds to critics, Nerlens Noel still likely to sit season?

Debby Wong-USA TODAY Sports

Prokhorov says it's not a big deal that he doesn't go to many Nets games. Meanwhile, Noel could still miss the entire season despite a recent report saying he could be ready to return in four-to-six weeks.

The Brooklyn Nets have come under a lot of fire this year due to their poor start, but Russian owner Mikhail Prokhorov's faith hasn't wavered, according to Mark Woods of ESPN New York.

Speaking to the media in London before the Nets' win over the Atlanta Hawks on Thursday, Prokhorov revealed he never considered firing general manager Billy King or first-year head coach Jason Kidd while the team was floundering.

Prokhorov also had something to say to the people who have criticized him for not attending more games in Brooklyn:

"Frankly speaking, there's a lot of criticism that I am not in Brooklyn," he said. "But, I just have a question for you: Do you really think you need to be sitting in the arena to see a game?

"My friends, we are living in the 21st century. And, in spite of the fact I have no computer, I still have a subscription for the NBA games, and for me, it's like enough to even have a look on the stats so you can understand what is going on."

Despite a season-ending injury to All-Star center Brook Lopez, the Nets have begun to turn things around. While a title is still extremely unlikely this season and there are major questions about the future, Prokhorov remains committed to winning a championship in the next five years.

Noel still likely to sit season?

Philadelphia 76ers rookie Nerlens Noel was cleared to resume basketball activities earlier this week as he recovers from a torn ACL, which means he could potentially return to action in four-to-six weeks. But if the Sixers have their way, there's still a good chance Noel doesn't suit up this season, according to Bob Ford of the Philadelphia Inquirer.

Ever since the Sixers acquired Noel in a blockbuster trade on draft night, the plan has been to bring him along slowly. The team wasn't expected to win much this year, with losing being a more optimal scenario given Philly will own their lottery pick and likely another from the New Orleans Pelicans.

However, if Noel is deemed healthy and ready to play, he should probably play. Considering he's still rather raw and coming off a serious knee injury, one would have to imagine he wouldn't hurt the tanking efforts that much. It would also just be beneficial to start the clock on his development and see how he performs against NBA players.

Hawks interested in Ivan Johnson

With Al Horford out for the season, the Atlanta Hawks have interest in bringing back Ivan Johnson once he concludes his season in the Chinese Basketball Association, according to Chris Vivlamore of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Johnson played two seasons for the Hawks, but the team didn't extend him a qualifying offer this past offseason, making him an unrestricted free agent. The big man received interest from a handful of NBA teams, but he chose to sign with the Zhejiang Chouzou Golden Bulls of the CBA.

Johnson has excelled over in China, posting averages of 25.8 points and 10.2 rebounds. Several NBA teams have gauged Johnson's interest in getting out of his contract with the Golden Bulls, but he plans to play out the remainder of the season. The CBA regular season ends Feb. 16.

Celtics set to sign Chris Johnson to 10-day contract

The Boston Celtics are expected to sign Chris Johnson of the D-League's Rio Grande Valley Vipers to a 10-day contract on Friday, according to Baxter Holmes of the Boston Globe.

The Celtics need some wing depth, and Johnson has played well in the D-League, averaging 19.4 points and 6.8 rebounds.

Johnson does have some NBA experience, playing in eight games for the Memphis Grizzlies last season. The 23-year-old averaged 3.6 points in 12.8 minutes per game.

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