San Diego lacrosse team owner buys nearly half of NBA's Nets

Joseph Tsai

Mikhail Prokhorov has agreed to sell a 49 percent minority stake in the Brooklyn Nets, according to ESPN's Zach Lowe. The purchase price will be based on the $2.3 billion value of the team.

Alibaba co-founder: Tsai is an e-commerce mogul.

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Under the terms of the deal, Tsai would have the option to buy a controlling interest in the next few years, the sources said.

Russian billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov will remain the principal owner of the team for four more years, and will hold on to his responsibilities to oversee business and sports operations, ESPN said. Prokhorov could then sell his majority stake when Tsai's option is triggered, according to ESPN.

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The first non-North American owner of an National Basketball Association team, Prokhorov, at his introductory press conference in 2010, said the Nets would win a championship within five years. Prokhorov has the right to keep a 20 percent stake in the team, the people said. Tsai has a personal net worth estimated at $9.1 billion, according to Forbes. That purchase from real estate developer Bruce Ratner's Forest City Enterprises Inc. valued the team at $875 million and the building at $825 million, including debt. Despite losing point guard Jeremy Lin to a season-ending knee injury, the Nets are now 3-2, and are coming off a dramatic win over the defending Eastern Conference champion Cleveland Cavaliers.

Without the Barclays Center, the deal hinges on whether or not the Nets can be successful financially.

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The team has made significant strides under new general manager Sean Marks and coach Kenny Atkinson, but after finishing the 2016-17 season with an NBA-worst 20-62 record, they have a very long way to go.

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