Posts Tagged ‘Joseph Tsai’

Brooklyn Nets owner Joe Tsai has pledged his support of the coaching staff and front office after Kevin Durant reportedly demanded that the team trade him or fire head coach Steve Nash and general manager Sean Marks

Tsai took to Twitter on Monday, saying, “Our front office and coaching staff have my support. We will make decisions in the best interest of the Brooklyn Nets.”

Durant’s ultimatum is apparently a result of his lack of faith in the team’s direction, The Athletic’s Shams Charania reported earlier Monday. The 33-year-old is firm in his stance, Charania adds.

The former MVP requested a trade at the end of June following a disappointing season that ended in a first-round exit. Little was known at the time about his reasons for the decision.

The Nets have reportedly had discussions with nearly every team in the league in hopes of getting a historic package of players and draft picks in return for Durant. Brooklyn reportedly proposed a trade with the Toronto Raptors involving Rookie of the Year Scottie Barnes and talked about a deal with the Boston Celtics that would include star Jaylen Brown.

The Raptors, Celtics, and Miami Heat are seen as the most likely trade destinations for Durant, sources told Charania.

The Nets aim to take “every last asset” from their trade partner in any deal for Durant, according to Charania.

Nash, a Hall of Fame point guard, has been at the helm of the Nets for two seasons. It is his first job in professional coaching. Meanwhile, Marks has held the position of general manager since 2016 after being an assistant for the San Antonio Spurs.

The WNBA fined the New York Liberty $500,000 for the team’s improper use of charter flights throughout the 2021 season, according to Sports Illustrated’s Howard Megdal – but the penalty for running afoul of the current collective bargaining agreement could have been significantly steeper.

In response to the team clandestinely taking charter flights for each road game from mid-August onward, the league’s general counsel proposed a number of punishments, including stripping the Liberty of future draft picks, suspending Joseph and Clara Wu Tsai’s ownership of the team, or even terminating the franchise altogether, according to a Sept. 21, 2021, missive obtained by Sports Illustrated.

Instead, the Liberty were fined a league-record $500,000, negotiated down from $1 million, and Liberty executive Oliver Weisberg was removed from the WNBA’s executive committee.

The current CBA requires teams to take commercial flights, though players must receive “premium economy” seating if available – but even well-heeled owners like Joseph Tsai are prohibited from chartering private flights.

The Liberty also took a trip to Napa Valley over Labor Day weekend that violated the CBA as a benefit exceeding the allowable compensation to players.

On rare occasions – and at the league’s discretion – charter flights have been commissioned due to limited time between playoff games. This was the case between Games 2 and 3 of the 2021 Finals between the Chicago Sky and Phoenix Mercury, per ESPN’s Mechelle Voepel.

Last September, the Liberty purportedly pitched a plan to make charter flights the default travel mode for all teams, with the added expense covered for all 12 franchises for three years, a source told Sports Illustrated. The proposal failed to gain support among the majority of owners; some reportedly worried about the potential long-term costs of establishing a higher standard.

The WNBA says that the Liberty never presented such a proposal to the league.

“It was agreed that the Liberty would explore opportunities regarding charter flights and present it to the Board (of Governors),” a WNBA spokesperson said in a statement to theScore. “To date, that has not happened.”

Boston Celtics center Enes Kanter called out Brooklyn Nets owner Joseph Tsai’s connections to China’s ruling Chinese Communist Party ahead of the teams’ game in Boston on Wednesday.

Born in Taiwan, the 57-year-old Tsai is the co-founder of the Chinese technology firm Alibaba Group. Tsai also owns the WNBA’s New York Liberty and Barclays Center itself. Forbes estimates his net worth at $8.9 billion.

Through the first month of the 2021-22 season, Kanter has used his social media accounts, media interviews, and a series of customized sneakers to highlight what he considers the unjust treatment of people in Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Tibet, as well as the Uyghurs of Xinjiang, at the hands of China’s government.

In recent weeks, targets of Kanter’s messages and demonstrations have included: U.S. President Joe Biden; Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James; apparel manufacturer Nike and its founder Phil Knight; the International Olympic Committee, which is set to host the upcoming Olympics in Beijing this winter; and, above all, Xi Jinping, the general secretary of the CCP and China’s president.

Since Tsai acquired full control of the Nets in September 2019, he has at times voiced his unequivocal support for Chinese sovereignty.

After then-Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey tweeted his support for pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong in 2019, Tsai denounced the demonstrations as “a separatist movement” in a statement on Facebook.

“The one thing that is terribly misunderstood, and often ignored, by the Western press and those critical of China is that 1.4 billion Chinese citizens stand united when it comes to the territorial integrity of China and the country’s sovereignty over her homeland,” Tsai argued. “This issue is non-negotiable.”

Tsai concluded: “I ask that our Chinese fans keep the faith in what the NBA and basketball can do to unite people from all over the world.”

At the time of Tsai’s statement, Facebook and a number of other Western social media platforms and news outlets were blocked in mainland China due to national censorship policies. Facebook remains largely inaccessible there today.

New York Liberty owner Joseph Tsai says it’s time for the WNBA to figure out its long-running issues with travel.

“Enough is enough,” Tsai tweeted in response to second-year Liberty guard Jazmine Jones. “I’m going to solve this transportation problem for good.”

Jones spent most of Saturday updating fans on the team’s attempts to return to Brooklyn from Indianapolis, where the Liberty fell to the Indiana Fever yesterday.

Per Jones, the Liberty’s flight was originally scheduled to leave at 11:31 a.m. ET. The departure time was first delayed to 3:30 p.m. and then finally to 7:06 a.m. Sunday – which would have the club arriving at LaGuardia Airport just five hours prior to Sunday’s 2 p.m. tipoff versus the Connecticut Sun.

Jones later confirmed the team could fly home Saturday after all.

The WNBA’s travel issues came into the national spotlight during the 2018 season. Following a 24-hour, multi-leg travel itinerary, the Las Vegas Aces refused to take the floor for a road game versus the Washington Mystics due to injury concerns. The WNBA ruled the result a forfeit by the Aces – the first in league history.

The players’ association negotiated for better travel logistics – including booking only comfort or economy plus seats – when the latest collective bargaining agreement was ratified in early 2020, but teams will continue to use commercial flights for away games.

Tsai is currently the wealthiest WNBA governor with a personal net worth estimated at over $10 billion. However, teams aren’t permitted to provide chartered flights – not even the Liberty, one of five WNBA franchises sharing an organization with a private-flying NBA counterpart.

“Getting your team to an away game and back comfortably, safely, and on time is a basic business necessity,” Tsai said Saturday. “It’s the right thing every owner should do.”

Mikhail Prokhorov has entered into a definitive agreement to sell his 51 percent controlling interest in the Brooklyn Nets and full ownership of the Barclays Center to Joseph Tsai, the team announced on Friday.

The deal – which is worth an NBA-record $3.5 billion, according to NetsDaily – is still subject to league Board of Governors approval.

Longtime Nets CEO Brett Yormark will depart the organization after the sale is completed. Prokhorov, a Russian businessman, originally paid $200 million in 2009 to become the Nets’ principal owner and a key investor in the Barclays Center. The Nets moved to the arena from New Jersey in 2012.

Two of the NBA’s top three franchise sale prices have now come from New York and Los Angeles, the league’s two biggest markets. Steve Ballmer purchased the Clippers for $2 billion in 2014, and the Houston Rockets were sold from Leslie Alexander to Tilman Fertitta for $2.2 billion in 2017.

Tsai, the co-founder of Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba, holds an estimated net worth of $8.8 billion. He’s been a co-owner of the Nets with Prokhorov since 2017.

Alibaba co-founder Joseph Tsai is close to signing a record $2.35-billion deal to acquire the remaining 51 percent of the Brooklyn Nets from Mikhail Prokhorov and become the sole owner of the franchise, sources told The New York Post’s Josh Kosman and Brian Lewis.

Tsai purchased 49 percent of the Nets last year for $1 billion. The Taiwanese-Canadian was given an option to buy the remaining 51 percent ahead of the 2021-22 season for $1.35 billion but this reported agreement will expedite the purchase.

The $2.35-billion figure becomes the most expensive purchase for a North American sports franchise, surpassing the $2.2-billion acquisitions of the Carolina Panthers and Houston Rockets – both in 2018.

Brooklyn was among the NBA’s most surprising teams last season, as it finished in sixth place in the Eastern Conference to snap a three-year playoff drought.

The Nets then added two-time Finals MVP Kevin Durant, perennial All-Star Kyrie Irving, and veteran center DeAndre Jordan to a talented young core this offseason.

 
Brooklyn Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov has reportedly agreed to sell a 49 percent stake in the team to Joseph Tsai, executive vice chairman and co-founder of Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski and Zach Lowe.

The sale of the team is reportedly based on a $2.3-billion valuation; at that rate, 49 percent of the team would cost the mogul over $1.1 billion. Tsai would retain an option to purchase controlling ownership of the Nets in four years.

Tsai is Taiwanese by birth, but has significant ties to North America. He went to high school in New Jersey and studied at Yale. He also holds Canadian citizenship. As a minority owner, Tsai will not have a role in the Nets’ basketball or business operations.

Prokhorov purchased 80 percent of the Nets for $200 million in 2010, relocating the team from New Jersey to Brooklyn two years later. He then purchased total ownership of the team and controlling ownership of the Barclays Center in late 2015 at a $1.7-billion valuation.

It was reported earlier this year that Prokhorov hoped to sell the team in a two-part plan after failing to auction off a minority stake. With the Houston Rockets selling to restaurateur Tilman Fertitta for a record $2.2 billion earlier this year, the timing has never been better for NBA owners to cash out of their investments.

Despite the Nets’ significantly higher valuation from just two years ago, Tsai’s ownership stake will reportedly not include ownership of the Barclays Center, which currently houses both the Nets and the NHL’s New York Islanders.

Since the start of the 2010-11 campaign, the Nets have amassed a regular season record of 201-342 – a .370 winning percentage – while racking up high luxury tax bills with teams built around past-their-prime veterans. They made the playoffs three times from 2013-15, making the second round in 2014.