This December 8th NBA debaclalypse needs a weird explanation. Because things definitely did just that... got weird.
Dwight Howard and his business associates have an illegal meeting with Mikhail Prokhorov? You really believe that Dwight’s stupid enough to go meet with the Nyets like that? Jeopardizing his chances to play in Brooklyn? Or chances to be traded at all?
And you really think Stern wanted to veto this CP3 trade? A trade that transitions L.A. into another title-contender? The NBA is ALWAYS better when the Lakers are good. 100% fact. The team is surrounded by 17 million people. Tradition spills from its every hole. And! And! And it was about as fair a trade for all three teams that could have been concocted. How do you let the Gasol for Gasol trade happen (at the time?) but now, you don’t let this happen?
How do you let LeBron reveal his new team and crap all over his old one on NATIONAL TELEVISION, and not allow this three teamer that helps EVERY TEAM IN THE DEAL.
I’m a Bulls fan, and I’m still pissed.
So, my roundball goons, time to postulate.
What the *&$% happened to Stern?
He used to be a badass. Simmons wrote about this earlier today in his Friday column. When anything crashed and burned in the NBA, Stern was there. Stern was the lone ranger. Stern made all right. Never fear, Stern is here!
This lockout garbage?
This trade block?
And Dwight’s making decisions that could end in tampering charges?
What? Is? Going? On? What in the name of all hells is happening here?!?!
Ok, fine. I’ll tell you.
It’s Mikhail Dmitrievitch Prokhorov.
It’s all Prokhorov. He’s bought into the league, and now he’s taking the joint over.
First off, the US knows that Russian business and politics are super corrupt. Why let this guy into the league in the first place? That can only go south, right?
Their social reasoning - a more international game. Meh.
Their real reason - either a crap load of money or their hand was forced. Probably both. Maybe he promised the NBA something. Promised Stern something. “Your little league,” he said, tapping his index on Stern’s nightshade oak desk, “vhen I’m done vith it, it vill make the NFL... look like lacrosse.”
So just like that, he’s in.
Alright, now that he’s a part of the NBA, what about December 8th? Could he really have an integral part in all this?
Mikhail saw this CP3 trade as a burden to his high aspirations. He doesn’t want him on the Knicks. He surely doesn’t want him on the Lakers.
So what does he do? He waits until the CP3 trade is near complete and the Knicks have offered Chandler a deal, and then he throws a Cuban Missile Crisis-sized wrench into the motor. Calls in a few favors. Makes a few power moves. Riles up the small market owners. Makes Cleveland owner Dan Gilbert his puppy/scape goat.
“Vhy should I look stupid in front of the American fans, vhen this Mr. Dan Gilbert already throws himself under the bus so much,” says Mik. “Fire him up a bit. Send him a signed picture of the, how do you say? Heatles? Yes. Nowv.”
He screws multiple franchises. Lakers now have a fully disgruntled team. You thought they quit in the playoffs last year? How about now? New Orleans has a CP3 that may sit on the bench all year. Paul can’t risk playing. He can’t risk that knee, playing with scrubs, when he’s in line for bank next year. The Knicks halted their pursuit of CP3, because they thought the Lakers had him, and ended up committing to Chandler. Think they would have done that with Paul still on the table? The Rockets are now just a collection of the unwanted.
And all while this is going down, he snatches up Dwight in a black stretch limo right as D12’s going for his morning jog.
The midnight-tinted window slides down. “Get in, Dvight.”
Dwight’s a little kid. How could he not?
The moment Dwight gets in, he’s under the control of Prokhorov. Here’s your illegal meeting.
Dwight’s convinced by Mikhail, of course, because Mik’s got so much effing money, and he also has the tools to grab every single other dollar on the planet that he doesn’t already own. I mean, the DUDE DOESN’T EVEN USE THE INTERNET, AND HE MAKES BILLIONS.
Do you understand what kind of power a man has to have? What kind of business sense and people sense a man has to have to pull that off? I can’t even fathom.
So he grabbed Dwight and said “You’re playing for me. Not because I’m forcing you, but because this powver... this powver that I have... can become your powver as vell. You’ll be on top of the vorld. You vill be the vorld. Your persona vill rival that of Michael. I vill rename Brooklyn, Dvightlyn. Don’t like that? Fine, name it vhatever you vant. You crazy Americans are so picky.”
And that was that. CP3 doesn’t get his trade, because vetoing it helps the Nyets. But Dwight... Dwight will get his trade. He’ll be gone. Mikhail will get his man. And with this Dwight trade, versus the Paul one, there’s even MORE shadiness piled up. Unfair? Yes. But Mikhail’s in the driver’s seat of the NBA right now.
And why did Prokhorov do all this?
Because LeBron chose the Heat. He saw how one player can just transcend the league, overpower the owners, commissioner, coaches, everybody. He figured out how the league worked, because that’s what Prokhorov does. He figures out every single business he gets into and owns it. Destroys it.
And now he’s owning the NBA. Deron Williams just got strong-armed into saying “Yes, I’m 90% sure I’ll be a Net. Love the Nets. Nets are great,” just days after having no effing clue what he’s going to do. Why? Because Mikhail let him know:
“I owvn this league.”
Prokhorov has a hand in everybody’s pot. He’s destroying the NBA. Ripping it apart. Or making it the most awesome thing that’s ever existed.
Because aside from the unfairness of all my off-the-wall hypotheses, it’s 100% fascinating. It’s incredible. I love you Mikhail. And I believe this is all your consequence.
Just wait. Wait until the next commissioner is tied to this Russian. He will be. It’s bound to happen. And if he isn’t tied initially, it’ll happen soon enough. Stern’s already hinting retirement. Mikhail is too powerful. He’s too smart. Remember when he said he’d get the Nets to the Finals within five years? He wasn’t joking. He’ll figure it out.
Because apparently the only thing that’s standing in his way is the one thing that made him figure out the league - Pat Riley. Riley is only person Mikhail may not be able to overcome. Because as much as Prokhorov can learn about the league in these last two years, Riley, well... the man’s ruled the league for decades. He’s a genius. He’s the perfect combination of ruthless businessman and basketball guru. Riley created last year’s championship team with three moves. The only reason they don’t have a ring is because his alpha male went puppy in the clutch. (Don’t make me go on a rant about how Mikhail had his hand in that too. Cause I could. “HOW DARE YOU CHOOSE THE HEAT OVER MY NYETS!!!! Disappear in the Finals... and I von’t destroy you.” The only thing refuting that explanation right now, is that LeBron’s melted down before, so I’ll lay low on that one.)
And as another side-note, how cool would it be if Riley had people in every single organization, and his inside guy on the Nets found out about the top-secret-illegal Dwight meeting and leaked it to Marc Stein to sabotage the trade?
I was texting back and forth with my buddy Jim about all this, and when I told him my theory, he goes “It’s like if Al Capone owned the Bulls.”
That got me thinking. Al Capone was a well-known gangster in the U.S., and I’m not so sure that people really know a lot about Mikhail. So this would be more like Capone taking over the U.S. market, then flying over to England and buying Man City’s soccer club. Nobody in England really knows what Capone would be capable of, but here in the U.S., we’d be like, “Ohh. Umm. Right... well... good luck with that.” Russia’s thinking the same thing about us right now.
So is any of this true? I have no idea. I just made it all up, honestly. But corruption has happened in sports many-a-times. Just check out the ESPN 30 for 30 doc, “The Two Escobars.” Pablo E. ran the entire Columbian National Soccer Organization, from grade school to the World Cup. He killed a guy for an own-goal, so worse has happened.
And if the Dwight trade goes through, while the CP3 one doesn’t, couldn’t this all be possible? Doesn’t it seem completely plausible? How could it not be? Even if the CP3 trade does end up going through with different terms, somebody had to move it in that direction. In every drastic decision, a cause must be rooted. Nothing’s coincidence. Nothing’s chance.
Someone’s driving this runaway train, and I think it’s Mikhail. And Mikhail’s only kryptonite? Riley.
I’d say I can’t wait for Christmas, but this year, the presents have come early.