The New York Knicks and the Los Angeles Lakers have been named the NBA’s most valuable teams in 2017 by Forbes. First things first: all the NBA franchises are counting money, with the average team worth $1.36 billion according to the magazine. The Knicks and Lakers are both worth at least double that, topping $3 billion each. The loot comes mostly from lucrative TV deals. The national deals the NBA negotiates with ESPN and TNT do well for all teams, but the big local money accrues to the teams in the biggest markets naturally. It costs local MSG network a lot of money to broadcast the Knicks losing two out of every three games. The Knicks have had four winning seasons since 2001.
The Lakers, having another giant audience to play to, have been setting records for futility in recent years also. Byron Scott led the Lakers to their most egregious season in history — during which they nonetheless made huge cash. Last year people hit the Staples Center to catch a last glimpse of the great Kobe Bryant during his swan song. The winningest team over the past two decades, the small-market San Antonio Spurs, ranked #12 with a value of $1.175 million.