Board of Governors approval still to come

Originally Published: August 5, 2004
By Marc Stein | ESPN.com

A sub-committee appointed by NBA commissioner David Stern has unanimously agreed to recommend for approval the sale of the New Jersey Nets to a group headed by real-estate developer Bruce Ratner.

A full vote by the NBA's Board of Governors to formally approve Ratner is expected by next week, but approval is generally considered a formality once support is recommended by the advisory finance committee.

Stern told ESPN.com on Friday that he expects Ratner to be approved by the full board and disputed the notion that Ratner is dumping assets to cut costs until he can move the team to Brooklyn.

"In some ways, I think you now see the Nets following the Denver model," Stern said. "Where you have draft picks and cap room and a key player or two, and you build the team around that over time."

Ratner has already assumed operating control of the Nets after making a $40 million cash deposit to buy the team in January. Three of the real estate developer's partners recently dropped out of Ratner's ownership group, but Ratner has never given any hint that his ownership bid was in jeopardy, focusing instead on a roster makeover that has angered star guard Jason Kidd.

Ratner sanctioned the sign-and-trade of Kenyon Martin to Denver for three future first-round picks and then offloaded Kerry Kittles to the Los Angeles Clippers for a future second-rounder.

He has since been trying to placate Kidd, who has reached out to three Western Conference teams -- San Antonio, Dallas and the Los Angeles Lakers -- as he considers demanding a trade.

The Nets have since made progress, giving Richard Jefferson an extension and agreeing to sign free-agent forward Eric Williams. Free-agent shooting guard Ron Mercer is also on their wish list.

Marc Stein is the senior NBA writer for ESPN.com. To e-mail him, click here. Also, click here to send a question for possible use on ESPNEWS.

Marc Stein | email

Senior Writer, ESPN.com
• Senior NBA writer for ESPN.com
• Began covering the NBA in 1993-94
• Also covered soccer, tennis and the Olympics

ALSO SEE