Nets Keep Losing, Moving Closer to Brooklyn

Few obstacles remain to new arena

If you ignore the fact that the Nets are a professional basketball team, things are going quite well for them.

Bruce Ratner, the team's owner, just signed documents to close on Atlantic Yards, the proceeds from the sale of tax-exempt bonds are in an escrow account waiting to be spent on construction and the state filed to raze the remaining holdout tenants under eminent domain.  

The opponents of the deal will continue to fight, right down to chaining themselves to the bar at Freddy's, but things appear to be too far down the road now for their fight to result in victory. They can take some pride in inflicting much damage to Ratner's bank account, the financial value of the Nets and, as a direct result of those money hits, the quality of the basketball team.

It's not what they were looking to accomplish, of course, but they've essentially salted the earth under the Nets over the last few years. The team's standing as a real-estate play on a disputed piece of land turned them from a perennial playoff team to the biggest laughingstock in sports. They added another notch to their bedpost on Wednesday night by losing to the Timberwolves for the second time this season. The Wolves have just six wins overall, which should tell you just about everything you need to know about the way the Nets have held up through the legal battles.

But, again, if you ignore that pesky bit of business, things are looking up for the Nets. Mikhail Prohorov should get approved as the team's new owner sooner rather than later, which will make them more interesting than your typically disgraceful sports outfit. And there's a good chance that they'll be sharing the arena in Newark with the Devils next season and until they move to Brooklyn.

The only downside to that move is that it will work so well for them that it will cause at least one person to wonder why they needed to spend so much time and money shoving an arena down the throat of Brooklyn in the first place.

Josh Alper is a writer living in New York City and is a contributor to and in addition to his duties for

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