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Forbes: Lakers most valuable NBA franchise

Posted Dec 9 2009 7:16PM

NEW YORK (AP) -- The Los Angeles Lakers are the NBA's most valuable team, and 12 franchises lost money in the 2008-09 season, according to Forbes magazine.

In its annual listing of the value of NBA franchises, Forbes finds Lakers to be worth $607 million, up 4 percent for the league champions. Second are the New York Knicks at $586 million, but that is a 4 percent drop. The Knicks led the rankings for the four previous seasons.

The Chicago Bulls ($511 million), Detroit Pistons ($479 million) and Cleveland Cavaliers ($476 million) round out the top five.

At the bottom of the 30-team rankings are the Milwaukee Bucks at $254 million. The league average worth is $367 million, down 4 percent, according to Forbes.

The teams losing money in the last 12 months are the Dallas Mavericks, Portland Trail Blazers, Orlando Magic, Atlanta Hawks, Sacramento Kings, Indiana Pacers, Charlotte Bobcats, New Jersey Nets, Minnesota Timberwolves, New Orleans Hornets, Memphis Grizzlies and Milwaukee Bucks.

Teams' average operating income was $7.8 million, with the Lakers at the top with $51.1 million, just ahead of the Bulls at $51 million. Portland's value has increased the most, by 10 percent, while the Kings and Grizzlies each have dropped the most, by 13 percent.

Team Owner Current Value ($mil) 1-year Change in Value% Debt/Value% Revenues ($mil) Operating Income ($mil)
1 Los Angeles Lakers Jerry Buss, Philip Anschutz $607 4% 20% $209 $51.1
2 New York Knicks Cablevision Systems 586 -4 0 202 21.0
3 Chicago Bulls Jerry Reinsdorf 511 2 11 168 51.0
4 Detroit Pistons Karen Davidson 479 0 0 171 46.9
5 Cleveland Cavaliers Daniel Gilbert 476 0 42 159 5.0
6 Houston Rockets Leslie Alexander 470 0 15 160 30.3
7 Dallas Mavericks Mark Cuban 446 -4 26 154 -17.4
8 Boston Celtics Wycliffe Grousbeck 433 -3 42 144 12.9
9 Phoenix Suns Robert Sarver 429 -5 43 148 20.7
10 San Antonio Spurs Peter Holt 398 -4 12 133 19.1
-- -- LEAGUE AVERAGE 367 -4 29 126 7.8
Source: Forbes
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