The Nets' salary commitments for next season are at $94 million, and that's for only 10 players. Brooklyn's luxury tax bill next summer figures to be $50 million. So Mikhail Prokhorov is spending at least $150 million for his payroll next season. And still might not get past the first round of the playoffs.
And just wait until the repeater tax kicks in for summer 2015. If the Nets want to go $30 million over the luxury tax threshold, they could owe $110 million in penalties. But that's monopoly money to Prokhorov, who made his fortune in precious metals and now wants NBA gold.
The NBA always has had migrant superstars. Wilt Chamberlain, at age 28, traded from the Warriors to the 76ers. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, also 28, sent from Milwaukee to the Lakers. Moses Malone, 27, jumping from Houston to Philadelphia in free agency. Shaquille O'Neal, 24, jumping from Orlando to the Lakers.
But now we've got the aggregation, which has produced three of the past six NBA titles (Boston one, Miami two). Either players forming their own tandem to join a team, or teams conspiring to add a dynamic duo.
Which inspires copycats. Not just the Lakers and Nets, but the likes of Dallas and Atlanta, too, both of whom had or have hopes of luring the likes of Howard and Paul together.
Alas, neither the Mavs nor the Hawks play near the ocean, so good luck with that.
Dallas and Atlanta, not exactly Baltic and Mediterranean on the NBA board, are like the rest of us in the league. Having to get by partly on draft luck and mostly on smarts, while quietly seething that the collective bargaining agreement has been a big bust.
Berry Tramel: Berry can be reached at (405) 760-8080 or at email@example.com. He can be heard Monday through Friday from 4:40-5:20 p.m. on The Sports Animal radio network, including FM-98.1. You can also view his personality page at newsok.com/berrytramel.