Mikhail Prokhorov has seen his win-now philosophy blow up in his face. His Nets are now 10-27 and third to last in average attendance per game. His team has traded away seven first-round picks over the past five years and owns just one first-rounder over the next three years, one the Celtics have the right to swap into if they so choose. Now he has an interim head coach and an interim GM after letting Lionel Hollins and Billy King go.
The Nets may seem hopeless to everyone else, but Prokhorov isn't backing off the big decrees he made when he first bought the franchise in 2010.
"I'm sure for next season we'll be, I hope, [a] championship contender," Prokhorov said during a Monday morning press conference at the Barclays Center.
"I take full responsibility for the state of the team," he said earlier. "I think Billy King did his best"
Prokhorov was asked many times, and in many different ways, whether he feels his reckless pursuit of a championship is the reason the Nets find themselves in their current downtrodden state. He said he has learned some lessons over the past six years -- though he did not elaborate much other than to say that not all players and coaches can handle the atmosphere in New York -- but that he doesn't think his approach is what doomed the team.
"Frankly speaking, I deserve a championship now much more than six years ago," Prokhorov said (though perhaps he meant to say "desire" instead of "deserve."). "I still believe that with some luck, our results would have been more promising [over the past few years], but I'll do my best to make us a championship team."
Prokhorov indicated that he believes the Nets are in better shape now than they have been before. He answered numerous questions by mentioning the franchise's new Brooklyn training facility, which is scheduled to open in February, and their D-League club (the Long Island Nets), which will start competing next season. He also brought up that he now owns both 100 percent of the Nets and the Barclays Center, and that Nets will enter the upcoming offseason with lots of cap space.
"We have everything the best," he said. "I'm really optimistic. I am very committed to win the championship. I am all in."
Prokhorov denied a report that one of King's new responsibilities will be to help find a new general manager. He added that assistant general manager Frank Zanin will be the person fielding calls as the trade deadline approaches.
At one point, Prokhorov was asked whether he would prefer to hire two people to fill his open head coach and GM position of if he'd like to give all the power to one individual. He said his perception was that it works better if those positions aren't consolidated. That would suggest the rumors about the Nets' interest in Kentucky coach John Calipari are false, because Calipari reportedly desires a dual role. (Calipari denied rumors of his interest in the Nets' job earlier on Monday).
Prokhorov, in further comments via a YES Network telecast, declined to answer whether Calipari would be a candidate for the job.
"Coach Cal is a great coach," he said. "We won't be discussing today any names because it's the first day of our new approach so were not in a hurry. We put a lot of names on [our] list."
Prokhorov said the Nets have fielded calls from "a lot of people" who are interested in filling the open positions. He said he plans on personally interviewing every candidate and spending more time with and around the team in general in Brooklyn. But at no point did Prokhorov express a desire to change his aggressive strategy.
"I think that I want us to have a much firmer blueprint of what kind of players we're looking for and why," he said, later adding: "I think we need to have a sense of identity and style of play. It will be very important conversation with the GM and coach."
But would Prokhorov be the one orchestrating the rebuilding plan, or would he allow his future GM and coach to have final say? Prokhorov didn't answer this question clearly, saying only that he plans on discussing this very topic with the individuals he eventually hires. He did make one thing clear, though.
"I hope we'll be back not as a playoff team, but as a championship contender," Prokhorov said. "This is my only goal."