NEW YORK, Jan. 22 (UPI) -- An agreement in principle has been reached to sell the NBA's New Jersey Nets to developer Bruce Ratner, who plans to relocate to New York City.
Ratner's plan to move the team reportedly could take place as soon as 2006, when construction of a new arena in downtown Brooklyn would be finished as the first phase of a huge project that could take 10 years to complete.
The deal between Ratner and YankeeNets, the holding company that owns the Nets and New York Yankees, could be finalized Friday. Ratner's offer when the bidding began last year reportedly was $300 million.
The Nets have a lease at Continental Airlines Arena in East Rutherford.
Despite consecutive appearances in the NBA Finals, the Nets have sold out just one game this season and are averaging 14,158 fans for home games, a figure better only than Atlanta.
They have played at the Meadowlands for the last 22-plus years.