(The highest-paid Net is Johnson, at $21.5 million. Yes, $21.5 million. I'll be honest with you - even if Johnson juggled a baby, a bowling ball and a steak knife at halftime and single-handedly stopped global warming, he's not putting one additional fan into the stands.)
The $101 million payroll also triggered a league-record luxury tax bill of $80 million-plus, putting the Nets' total tab over $180 million. The luxury tax is designed to punish the biggest spenders; it's in place to discourage someone like Prokhorov from emptying his fat wallet.
(Incidentally, I've always wondered where the luxury tax goes. As it turns out, half the luxury bill is redistributed to the teams below the tax line and the rest goes to the league's revenue-sharing pool, with a small amount set aside to re-carpet David Stern's office, which seems preposterous to me considering he's retiring in February and you know incoming commissioner Adam Silver is going to want to redecorate.)
Anyway, Prokhorov - worth a reported $13 billion - doesn't mind the extra $80 million in luxury taxes, but he's backed off his original claim that if the Nets don't win a title within five years, he would get married.
Prokhorov now says that was a joke.
To be honest, I think the second-most interesting man in the world realized that marriage was one luxury tax he didn't want to pay.
Ask The Slouch
Q. Would Roger Goodell sign off on an agreement between Daniel Snyder and a Native American group to allow casino gambling in the offseason at FedEx Field in exchange for retaining the Redskins name? (Ira Lilien; Fresh Meadows, N.Y.)
A. I can't believe you sat in on that meeting last week.
Q. You seem very negative about most everything in sports, so why do you work in sports? (Tobias Williams; Annapolis, Md.)
A. When I got out of college, I was a male model. But that's a young man's game; sports will take me to the grave, and, hopefully, a little beyond.
Q. I noticed that the University of Miami and some top SEC football teams do not leave their state to play unless it is a league game. Is this because of parole regulations? (Charlie Cox; Spokane Valley, Wash.)
A. Pay the man, Shirley.
You, too, can enter the $1.25 Ask The Slouch Cash Giveaway. Just e-mail asktheslo...@aol.com and, if your question is used, you win $1.25 in cash!