Portland Trail Blazers v Los Angeles Lakers

Forbes: Knicks most valuable franchise, Kobe biggest earner


The New York Knicks and Los Angeles Lakers are each worth more than $1 billion dollars.

That is billion with a “B.”

They are the first NBA franchises to pass that mark, reports Forbes Magazine in its latest valuation of NBA franchises. The Knicks are worth $1.1 billion, the Lakers $1 billion even. The average NBA franchise is worth $509 million, up 30 percent from the year before, the magazine estimates.

Oh, and by the way, Kobe Bryant makes a lot of money — $59.8 million in salary and endorsements this year. The magazine also has released its list of highest earning players.

With the franchises, the Knicks move back into the top spot somewhat due to success on the court but mostly because of the $980 million renovation to Madison Square Garden. The renovation paved the way for more of the expensive, luxury seating and perks that drive team revenue. Because of that the value of the franchise jumped 41 percent in one year, according to Forbes.

By moving to Brooklyn and the new Barclays Center, the Nets value jumped 48 percent to $530 million. The lowest valued team? The Milwaukee Bucks at a “measly” $312 million.

As for players earnings, it’s Kobe Bryant, LeBron James and then everyone else.

Kobe tops the list with LeBron James second at $57.6 million. LeBron has more endorsement money coming in but his actual NBA salary is just more than $10 million less than Kobe’s $27.8 million.

Derrick Rose — he of the large Adidas contract — is third on the list at $32.4 million.

The rest of the top 10 is:

4. Dwyane Wade
5. Kevin Durant
6. Carmelo Anthony
7. Amar’e Stoudemire
8. Dwight Howard
9. Chris Paul
10. Pau Gasol

What each of those guys does is put butts in seats (even Gasol, although to a much lesser extent). Yes, they can score a lot (save maybe Stoudemire) but pay for an NBA player at the max is not just about on-court production as what he means for the bottom line of the franchise. While Kobe may be getting paid $27 million he’s worth probably three times that to the Lakers in terms of ticket sales, sponsorships and more.

Thabo Sefolosha’s lawyer: White police officer targeted black Hawks forward

Thabo Sefolosha
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NEW YORK (AP) — A lawyer representing a professional basketball player arrested outside a New York City nightclub has told a jury his client was targeted because he’s black.

Attorney Alex Spiro said Tuesday in Manhattan Criminal Court that a white police officer saw a black man in a hoodie when he confronted the Atlanta Hawks’ Thabo Sefolosha on April 8.

Sefolosha was arrested while leaving a Manhattan nightclub following a stabbing. He subsequently suffered a season-ending leg fracture after a confrontation with police.

A prosecutor said in opening statements that Sefolosha called an officer who repeatedly told him and others to leave a “midget.”

Sefolosha pleaded not guilty to misdemeanor obstructing government administration, disorderly conduct and resisting arrest charges. The Swiss citizen declined a plea deal from prosecutors.


DeMar DeRozan says he hates talking about free agency, takes pride in Raptors longevity

DeMar DeRozan
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DeMar DeRozan has a $10,050,000 player option for 2016-17. Given the rapidly escalating salary cap, it’s a practical certainty DeRozan will opt out and get a major raise.

But he says he doesn’t want to talk about it.

DeRozan, via Eric Koreen of the National Post:

“I hate that, honestly,” DeRozan said in a one-on-one interview. “I never speak about it. With me, I’ve always been that one player: I’ve been loyal. I’ve been every single thing you can think of here. I think people don’t understand how much pride I take in playing (in Toronto). A lot of times when I do get asked that, it kind of frustrates me.

“Everyday I wake up, I take pride in being the longest Raptor here. People bring up third or whatever in franchise scoring — there is so much stuff like that.”

This sounds awfully similar to LaMarcus Aldridge, who stated his desire last year to become the great Trail Blazer ever and then signed with the Spurs this summer.

Things change, and the impracticality of an extension ensures DeRozan will hit free agency. I believe he’s devoted to the Raptors right now, but his loyalty might change in the next nine months – especially once he sees contract offers from other suitors.

Toronto’s interest in DeRozan might fluctuate, too. He’s a nice player, but the Raptors haven’t won a playoff series with him despite winning the division the last two years. Depending how this season goes, Masai Ujiri might want to rework the roster significantly next summer, and letting DeRozan walk could create major cap space.

I believe DeRozan wants to return to the Raptors, and I believe they want to keep him. But so much can change between now and when both sides must make that call.