Reading the Nets tea leaves

So how dead, exactly, is the New Jersey Nets‘ move to Brooklyn? This was the talk of the New York media the last week, kicked off when the Daily News reported that Nets owner Bruce Ratner was in talks with investors about selling the team, which he bought in 2004 to move it to a new Brooklyn arena that he would build (with plenty of government help). A Ratner spokesperson denied the report, but by week’s end New Jersey Gov. Jon Corzine had declared he thought there was a good chance of keeping the Nets in his state, while an aide to Brooklyn borough president Marty Markowitz admitted, “I don‚Äôt know if we‚Äôre going to get the Nets.

The date to watch here could be December 1 – if Ratner hasn’t finalized financing for his Atlantic Yards project in Brooklyn by then, Barclays Bank can back out of or renegotiate its $20 million a year naming rights deal for the arena. Without that money, it seems inconceivable that Ratner could make his money back on a $950 million arena – especially when he’s already having to lure fans with a no money down ticket plan.

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