One of the reasons speculated to be a comparative advantage for the Nets this summer was the fact they are soon to be owned by Joseph Tsai, the first Chinese NBA team owner. Tsai owns 49% of the Nets and has a deal to purchase the rest of the team from Mikhail Prokhorov before the 2021-2022 basketball season, but it seems he will close the deal sooner.
Tsai is the co-founder and executive
Tsai will cash out a total of $2.35 billion for the Nets, but this will not mark the end of the cost. NBA strongly recommends for owners to own the arena their team plays in, so Tsai will also purchase Barkleys Center as well. When you consider that in 2009 Prokhorov paid $200 million for an 80% stake in the Nets and a 45% interest in the yet-to-be-built Barclays Center, that’s quite the return on investment.
Tsai was already involved with NBA China and thus paved the way to own a team in the future. Him owning a team will only accelerate the growth NBA has in China, the world’s largest market.
With players looking for business opportunities outside the basketball arena, playing for a team owned by the co-owner of Alibaba is extremely valuable. Brian Windhorst mentioned several times he believes this was an important part of the decision to join the Nets and not the Knicks. With all the cap reform to help small-market teams, this is one comparative advantage the league won’t be able to work around.