Sports

Alibaba's Tsai in deal for stake in NBA's Brooklyn Nets

Alibaba's Tsai in deal for stake in NBA's Brooklyn Nets

While Prokhorov, who has held a majority stake in the Nets since 2010, will retain the right to make team and business decisions, sources told ESPN that the deal was done with the expectation that Tsai would eventually replace the Russian billionaire as the primary owner through a majority stake.

Tsai's purchase, according to ESPN, "represents another big bet on the future of the National Basketball Association - and on the power of Brooklyn as a market". The agreement reportedly does not include the Barclays Center, for which Prokhorov is also a majority shareholder.

Tsai, 53, now serves as executive vice chairman of Alibaba Group, the ecommerce giant that posted $23 billion in revenue in its most recent fiscal year.

They finished with the NBA's worst record a year ago at 20-62, but have won three of their first five games this season, including a win over the Eastern Conference champion Cavaliers. According to Forbes, the Nets are valued at $1.8 billion.

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Mikhail Prokhorov's search for a Nets buyer is reportedly nearing an end. That record was broken with Tilman Fertita's $2.2 billion purchase of the Houston Rockets earlier this year, and falls again with this sale.

The Nets never did become title contenders, but those deals would hamstring the team for years.

That's likely to be the only title Prokhorov wins as owner of the Nets. That said, Prokhorov has always maintained that he would listen to offers for the franchise that relocated to Brooklyn from New Jersey for the 2012-13 season.

However, second-year coach Kenny Atkinson and general manager Sean Marks have seemingly improved the franchise this season.