Forbes: Knicks most valuable franchise, Kobe biggest earner

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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.

Heat forward James Johnson expected to miss 7 to 10 days

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MIAMI (AP) The Miami Heat will be without starting forward James Johnson for at least two games and probably more after bursitis was found in his right ankle.

Johnson left Miami’s win over the Los Angeles Clippers on Saturday with ankle pain, and an MRI performed Sunday led to the bursitis diagnosis. Johnson is not traveling with the team for its trip for games at Atlanta on Monday and Boston on Wednesday.

The team says Johnson could miss seven to 10 days, which would also mean his status for home games against Dallas on Dec. 22, New Orleans on Dec. 23 and Orlando on Dec. 26 is in some doubt.

Johnson is averaging 10.9 points and 5.2 rebounds for the Heat this season.

LeBron James wears one black, one white LeBron 15 shoes with “Equality” on back (VIDEO)

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LeBron James notched his third-straight triple-double on Sunday, this one coming against the Washington Wizards. But before the game, the story was all about how James was voicing a silent protest — in Washington D.C., no less — by wearing a special version of his shoes.

LeBron took to the floor wearing his LeBron 15s, but this player edition had the word “Equality” on the back of them. James wore one black shoe and one white shoe.

James wore the black versions of this shoe in the Cleveland Cavaliers’ opener to start the season.

Via Twitter:

LeBron finished the game with 20 points, 15 assists, and 12 rebounds. The Cavaliers beat the Wizards, 106-99.

Stephen Curry says he’d want in on potential Panthers ownership

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The Carolina Panthers are up for sale. Owner Jerry Richardson said he would sell the team late on Sunday following an announcement by the NFL that Richardson was under investigation for “workplace misconduct”. The NFL’s investigation and Richardson’s decision to sell was preceded by a report from SI saying Richardson had paid out settlements amid sexual harassment and racial slur claims.

Enter Sean Combs and Stephen Curry.

Combs — that’s Diddy, you to and me — has previously voiced his interest in being involved with the NFL, and after seeing that Richardson would be selling the team, jumped at the chance to boost his profile. Combs tweeted that he wanted to buy the team, and that’s when Curry joined in.

Via Twitter:

Naturally, Curry is from Charlotte and went to both high school and eventually college in the area, playing at Davidson. He’s an avid Panthers fan and has been on the sideline for the team publicly many times over the years.

Curry being part of an ownership group for the Panthers would be pretty wild. Perhaps Charlotte Hornets owner Michael Jordan would like to join in? It seems like they would have the liquidity and credit availability between the three of them to get the team.

Then again, the asking price for the Panthers could be north of $2 billion. The last team to be sold was the Buffalo Bills in 2014 for $1.4 billion. In September, Forbes released a valuation for the Panthers that put them at $2.3 billion.

Might need to get a few others involved in this one.

Watch Raptors fans give Vince Carter a standing ovation in Toronto (VIDEO)

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Vince Carter is 40 years old and playing in what could possibly be his final NBA season. The Sacramento Kings guard started his career with the Toronto Raptors, and on Sunday he played what could possibly be his final game at the Air Canada Centre.

And so, when Carter was subbed out late in the fourth quarter on Sunday, the folks in Toronto did what came naturally: they cheered.

The whole thing was pretty great to watch, and a real testament to how Carter is viewed by fans in Toronto.

Via Twitter:

Carter scored just four points in 25 minutes for Sacramento, going 2-of-5 from the field while adding three blocks, two assists, a rebound and a steal.

The Raptors got the win over the Kings, 108-93.