Forbes: Knicks, worth $3 billion, pass Lakers as NBA’s most valuable team

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Five years ago, Forbes named the Knicks the NBA’s most valuable team, appraising them at $655 million.

Now, that would barely top the last-place Pelicans.

Forbes released its latest valuations of NBA teams today, and the Knicks ($3 billion) overtook the Lakers ($2.7 billion) for the top spot. But, really, everyone wins – if you own a team.

Thanks to a healthier national economy, a Collective Bargaining Agreement that gives owners a larger share of the revenue and new national TV contracts, the value of NBA teams is skyrocketing.

Nearly half the league – 13 of 30 teams – is valued at at least $1 billion. Forbes has struggled to keep up with the soaring price of NBA teams, and most that have sold recently have gone for more than Forbes projected. I wouldn’t be surprised if an actual majority of teams could fetch $1 billion on the open market.

Here are the full rankings:

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RK Team Value
1 NYK $3 billion
2 LAL $2.7 billion
3 CHI $2.3 billion
4 BOS $2.1 billion
5 LAC $2 billion
6 GSW $1.9 billion
7 BRK $1.7 billion
8 HOU $1.5 billion
9 DAL $1.4 billion
10 MIA $1.3 billion
11 SAS $1.15 billion
12 CLE $1.1 billion
13 PHO $1 billion
14 TOR $980 million
15 POR $975 million
16 WAS $960 million
17 OKC $950 million
18 SAC $925 million
19 ORL $900 million
20 UTA $875 million
21 DEN $855 million
22 DET $850 million
23 IND $840 million
24 ATL $825 million
25 MEM $780 million
26 CHA $750 million
27 MIN $720 million
28 PHI $700 million
29 MIL $675 million
30 NOP $650 million

It’s important to remember these figures are only estimates based on limited external data. But they’re the best numbers we have and a pretty decent baseline.

You can bet the players union will look at this trend of surging team values during CBA negotiations. If any owners complain about not turning enough profit — a gripe in past negotiations, though not one brought up lately — most have a simple solution: Sell and recoup millions – maybe even billions – more than you paid for it.