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|Owners to vote on Ratner, not Brooklyn|
Those that oppose the development and arena proposed by Bruce Ratner could always hope that his bid for the New Jersey Nets falls through. That's not likely to happen. NBA deputy commissioner Russ Granik told ESPN.com that the league is in the process of performing financial and background checks on Ratner and his many Nets partners, including hip-hop icon Jay-Z.
As of now, a select group of owners is set to make a recommendation on how the others should vote in June. Three-quarters of the league's owners, or 22 of the 29, then have to vote to approve the $300 million deal.
"The way this is going to be approached is that Bruce Ratner is coming in to buy the Nets as they are today," Granik said. "I'm sure when the committee interviews Bruce and his partners they will ask them about their long-range plans, but right now he's buying the New Jersey Nets. Whether or not he will be able to make things work in Brooklyn in the future that will be up to him."
Some opponents think the league should pay closer attention to Ratner's plans. Scott Turner, who oversees a group called Fans for Fair Play -- a coalition of sports fans from Brooklyn who oppose the project -- said he believes that top NBA officials should be asking more questions about the project that Rattner proposed in December.
"The NBA is by far the most image conscious of all the leagues, that's why they are where they are on an international scale," Turner said. "By being involved in something like this they are going to get attached to eminent domain abuse and misuse of billions of dollars in public funds."
— Darren Rovell
Darren Rovell, who covers sports business for ESPN.com, can be reached at Darren.firstname.lastname@example.org.