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Will Mikhail Prokhorov's Midtown Nets billboard pay dividends?

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Thumbnail image for New_Jersey_Nets.jpgScrooge-McDuck-rich New Jersey Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov is investing in some pricey real estate in order to fire a salvo at the New York Knicks as the NBA's free agency period begins.

Making good on his promise to try to convert Knicks fans to Nets supporters, the Russian tycoon has purchased space for a 222-by-95 foot billboard next to Madison Square Garden for a billboard that will picture him and minority owner Jay-Z with a slogan reading "The Blueprint For Greatness" and Nets logo.

The strategically-placed ad will visible from Knicks headquarters at 34th and 8th. This, I'd assume, is no accident.

The Nets and Knicks, along with other NBA teams, will be able to sign a ridiculously stacked free agent pool beginning at midnight tonight. As the rumor mill churns, the franchise's chances of landing the likes of LeBron James, Chris Bosh, Joe Johnson, Dwyane Wade and Carlos Boozer are really good or really bad, depending on whatever rumor you're reading.

According to ESPN's Mark Stein, Prokhorov may have a shot at the most marquee of the names.

Competition for the two-time reigning MVP is fierce, with Miami and Chicago making strong pitches as well and James' hometown Cavs desperately trying to keep him. But sources close to the process continue to describe the Nets' ownership tag team of Prokhorov and Jay-Z -- who ranks as one of James' mentors and role models -- as a bigger threat to steal James away from Cleveland than James Dolan's Knicks, despite the fact that the Nets are scheduled to spend the next two seasons in unfashionable Newark before making the move to Brooklyn.
The Nets, by the way, were 12-70 last year.

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Indeed they were 12-70

but let's take it in perspective shall we?

In the opening 19 games in which they set their futility streak, there were injuries to virtually everyone.

Harris was out with he ankle
DOoling with the hip
Lee out
Yi
etc.. it was a revolving door


some nights, only 7 players dressed.

Lopez started al the games with the likes of Rafer alston, Hayes, Simmons, and Boone.

Sure. its not like Harris and the other players were stars. Even if healthy, last year's Nets team would have done no better than 25 wins


Still. the Cavs without Lebron would not be a 12-70 team as well if many of thoes starters missed big games?


picture this:

no Lebron cavaliers with massive injuries to the starting lineup leading to:

Gibson
Parker
Moon
Varejao
Shaq

limited bench

then Jamison comes midway through and they get healthy...


do you really think that team would not challenge futiliy as well?


if you think Shaq alone could carry them to 30 wins then think no further than the 07-08 season opening, when the Heat with Wade out and ONeal only was on pace for a horrible 15 wins by the "Most dominant ever." Shaq was lucky to have been traded away to ignore that ignominy

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