What's Buzzing:

Brooklyn Nets owner says plans to bring NBA club under Russian jurisdiction

The Brooklynettes perform during introductions before the Brooklyn Nets play the Utah Jazz in NBA basketball game in New York

View photo

The Brooklynettes perform during introductions before the Brooklyn Nets play the Utah Jazz in their NBA …

By Alexei Anishchuk

MOSCOW (Reuters) - A Russian billionaire said on Monday he planned to relocate his company that runs the Brooklyn Nets basketball team to Russia, in keeping with the Kremlin's call on Russian businessmen to repatriate their assets to help combat new U.S. sanctions.

The United States and European Union have imposed visa bans and asset freezes on officials and businessmen believed to be close to Russian President Vladimir Putin in protest at Moscow's annexation of Ukraine's Crimea region.

Mikhail Prokhorov, owner of the Brooklyn Nets, had said previously that he planned to relocate the company that runs the NBA team to Russia, but his comments to reporters in the Kremlin underlined his support for Putin.

"A Russian company will own the basketball club," Prokhorov said before receiving a medal for services to Russia along with other national sports officials.

"This (move) does not violate any NBA (U.S. National Basketball Association) rules and I will bring it (under Russian jurisdiction) in accordance with Russian law."

The NBA said on Monday that it had not been notified of any changes to the Nets' ownership.

"The Nets are owned by Mikhail Prokhorov through a U.S.-based company," Mike Bass, an NBA spokesman, said in a statement. "We have received no official application nor is there a process underway through our office to transfer the ownership of the Nets to another company."

He did not say whether the NBA would oppose such a move.

Prokhorov has not been hit by Western sanctions and, although he ran against Putin in the 2012 presidential election, he has underlined his loyalty to the president.

Putin waged war on the so-called oligarchs who amassed political influence as well as vast riches under former President Boris Yeltsin.

Some oligarchs have been driven out of Russia, former oil tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky was jailed for more than a decade on financial crimes charges and those who remained have largely stayed out of politics.

Prokhorov, one of Russia's richest men, made his fortune by acquiring former state assets during the chaotic years after the 1991 disintegration of the Soviet Union.

With an estimated $10.3 billion fortune, according to Forbes magazine, Prokhorov has owned other sports clubs, including European basketball powerhouse CSKA Moscow. But he sold most of them several years ago.

(Additional reporting by Jonathan Allen in New York; Editing by Mark Heinrich and Dan Grebler)

Sign up for Yahoo Fantasy Hockey
View Comments (172)
  • Grizzlies-Rockets Preview

    A coaching change hasn't altered the Houston Rockets' fortunes yet, but they're showing some improvement defensively. The guard is slated to return from his latest injury as the Rockets try to avoid their second loss in less than a week to the … More »

    AP - Sports - 30 minutes ago
  • Late run pushes Celtics by Hawks 121-97

    Late run pushes Celtics by Hawks 121-97

    Jeff Teague has been waiting for the Atlanta Hawks to break out of their slump. ''We had some hard practices,'' Teague said. Paul Millsap scored 25 points, Teague added 16 and the Hawks beat the Boston Celtics 121-97 on Tuesday night. … More »

    AP - Sports - 30 minutes ago
  • Balanced Grizzlies beat Mavericks 110-96

    Balanced Grizzlies beat Mavericks 110-96

    Mike Conley scored 21 points, Jeff Green added 19 and seven Memphis players reached double figures in a 110-96 victory over the Dallas Mavericks on Tuesday night. Marc Gasol had 15 points and 10 rebounds for Memphis, which won its fifth in the last … More »

    AP - Sports - 30 minutes ago
  • Clippers beat Nuggets to end 3-game skid

    Clippers beat Nuggets to end 3-game skid

    Wesley Johnson lacked the stats of his superstar teammates, though they were praising him after the Los Angeles Clippers snapped a three-game losing streak. Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan each scored 18 points, and Johnson's presence in the … More »

    AP - Sports - 31 minutes ago
  • Warriors want more after making NBA history with 16-0 start

    Even though he hasn't been in his usual spot on the bench, ailing coach Steve Kerr has contributed plenty to Golden State's record start. On Tuesday night, his defending champion Warriors routed the Los Angeles Lakers 111-77 to become the first … More »

    AP - Sports - 1 hour 18 minutes ago