While the New York Knicks were wallowing in the ditch built by Isiah Thomas, the Los Angeles Lakers moved past them on Forbes Magazine’s list of the most valuable NBA franchises. When the Knicks got their act together the past year or so (relatively, at least) they vaulted back to the top of the list.
But the Lakers got a massive new cable deal and are back on top.
The Lakers are worth $900 million by Forbes estimates, up 40 percent year over year. What moved them into the top spot was a new local television deal with Time Warner Cable to broadcast their games, one that reportedly will pay the Buss family franchise nearly $200 million a year for 20 years (for comparison, the entire Milwaukee franchise is estimated at $268 million). Even with the new league revenue sharing rules, the Lakers will be rich.
The Knicks are not hurting, worth an estimated $790 million, up 19 percent over last season. They have a renovated Madison Square Garden where they jacked up ticket prices 49 percent for this season, just to help that bottom line. Which is working, the Knicks turned a league best $75 million profit last year, Forbes estimates.
The rest of your top five are: Chicago Bulls ($600 million), Dallas Mavericks ($479 million) and the Boston Celtics ($482 million.). The Heat are sixth ($457 million), once again finishing behind the Mavericks.
At the other end of the scale are your bottom five: The Charlotte Bobcats ($272 million), Minnesota Timberwolves ($272 million), Atlanta Hawks ($270 million), Memphis Grizzlies ($269 million) and the Milwaukee Bucks ($268 million).
That disparity of wealth played into the lockout and is only getting worse, Forbes notes.
James Harden had a historic season in Houston.
Since it’s Friday afternoon and your sports viewing options consist of watching guys about to be cut from NFL rosters try to impress, why not check out Harden’s best plays from last season. It’s worth a couple minutes of your time.
Jeff Withey‘s ex-fiancée accused him of domestic violence, but he was not charged.
That frees him to continue his basketball career, which he’ll do in Dallas.
Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports:
The Mavericks could use another center, even if they re-sign Nerlens Noel. Salah Mejri is the only other true center, though Dirk Nowitzki will now play the position.
Withey is a good rim protector. Just don’t ask him to do anything away from the basket.
Dallas annually brings excess players to training camp and has them compete for regular-season roster spots. Whether or not his salary is guaranteed, Withey will likely fall into that competition.
The Grizzlies’ Grit & Grind era has ended.
Zach Randolph signed with the Kings, and Tony Allen appears likely to leave Memphis, too. The Grizzlies are prioritizing younger/cheaper players like Ben McLemore and Tyreke Evans.
Marc Gasol via Ala Carta, as translated by HoopsHype:
I’m very ambitious and I’ve wanted Memphis to be a great franchise. We’ve grown a lot the last 6-7 years, but we have to keep growing. If this is not lined up, maybe we may have to revisit things.
Gasol has been loyal to Memphis, and his first wish is probably winning there. But Giannis Antetokounmpo put it well: Teams must also do right by their players. Gasol is 32 and doesn’t have much time in his prime left. I see why rebuilding wouldn’t interest him.
But what will he do about it if the Grizzlies don’t prioritize the present? They made their push last summer with a max contract for Chandler Parsons, but because Parsons can’t stay healthy, that deal only inhibits team growth.
Gasol is locked up for two more years before a player option. He doesn’t have much leverage. This is part of the reason LeBron James keeps signing short-term contracts. Gasol doesn’t have the same ability to steer his team in his desired direction
On the potentially bright side, rebuilding teams often don’t have much use for 32-year-olds guaranteed more than $72 million over the following three years. If the fit devolves, Memphis becomes more likely to trade him.
The Celtics already said they’d retire Paul Pierce’s No. 34.
Now, we know when.
The Boston Celtics announced today that they will retire Paul Pierce’s No. 34 after a mid-season game against the Cleveland Cavaliers on Sunday, Feb. 11
After? That’s apparently in response to a new rule that penalizes teams not ready to play after a 15-minute halftime. These ceremonies can drag on, and nobody wants to cut Pierce short. I wonder whether this will start a trend of number retirements coming after games.