The agreement will purportedly move forward with the "presumption" that Prokhorov will sell his remaining stake to Tsai at that time, though Prokhorov and his team will retain control of basketball and business operations until the majority stake is sold, according to the ESPN report. Forbes magazine estimates his net worth at $8.8 billion.
They finished with the NBA's worst record a year ago at 20-62, but have won three of their first five games this season, including a win over the Eastern Conference champion Cavaliers.
Under the deal's terms, Tsai has an option to purchase a controlling interest in the franchise from its current owner, Russian billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov, in 2021, ESPN reported, citing league sources.
The Barclay's Center is also included. The deal values the team at $2.3 billion.
Mikhail Prokhorov's search for a Nets buyer is reportedly nearing an end.
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The Nets' local revenue was a league-low $36 million last season, and the team earns only $20 million from its local television contract with YES.
The Nets last made the playoffs in 2015, losing in the first round to the Atlanta Hawks after a sub-.500 regular season.
The Nets and Barclays Center were valued at $875 million and $825 million, respectively, in that deal, according to Newsday.
Tsai, who has formally expressed his support for the team's new general manager, Sean Marks, and coach Kenny Atkinson, reportedly plans to help with efforts to turn the team around. Despite losing point guard Jeremy Lin to a season-ending knee injury, the Nets are now 3-2, and are coming off a dramatic win over the defending Eastern Conference champion Cleveland Cavaliers.