Joseph Tsai is finalizing a deal to buy the Nets at a $2.35 billion valuation, the New York Post reports. Tsai, the co-founder of Alibaba, previously bought a 49% stake in the team in 2017. He is buying the remainder from Russian magnate Mikhail Prokhorov. Tsai is also in talks to buy the Barclays Center, where the Nets play their games in Brooklyn.
Tsai’s purchase is the record for an American sports franchise, surpassing the $2.2 billion David Tepper paid for the Carolina Panthers in 2018 and $2.2 billion Tilman Fertitta paid for the Houston Rockets in 2017.
The Nets are in a fascinating basketball situation. Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant will do big box office numbers, but Durant is going to be out for most if not all of this upcoming season, and there is not a lot of history of athletes returning to their former powers after Achilles injuries. Irving, meanwhile, has also battled injuries during his career, and this is on top of being a mercurial performer where everything needs to be calibrated just right for him to be at the top of his game.