Forbes: Knicks highest valued NBA team, LeBron James highest paid player
The New York Knicks are the NBA's highest valued team, according to Forbes, and Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James is the league's highest paid player including endorsements.
The Knicks, who have missed the playoffs in each of the past three seasons, still bring in big bucks and are valued at $3.3 billion, up 10% from last year.
The explosion in value and player salaries are due in part to the NBA's $24 billion media deal with ESPN and TNT and the newly-signed collective bargaining agreement.
The Los Angeles Lakers ($3 million) are second on the list, followed by the Golden State Warriors. The Warriors rose 37% in value and are now worth $2.6 billion. The team also broke ground on a new arena set to open for the 2019-20 season and secured another $300 million in arena naming rights from Chase.
The Chicago Bulls ($2.5 billion) are fourth and the Boston Celtics ($2.2 billion) round out the top five.
The defending NBA champions, the Cleveland Cavaliers, are 11th on the list with a value of $1.2 billion. The New Orleans Pelicans are last on the list with a value of $750 million.
James is the NBA's highest paid player for the third straight year, with earnings of $88 million, including $55 million in endorsements. Warriors forward Kevin Durant is second ($62.5 million).
Two-time NBA Most Valuable Player, Warriors guard Stephen Curry ($35 million off court) is third despite his $12.1 million annual basketball salary. Curry is set to become an unrestricted free agent this summer and could command a contract worth over $200 million.
This year's top MVP candidates, Houston Rockets guard James Harden ($46.5 million) and Oklahoma City Thunder guard Russell Westbrook ($41.5 million) are fourth and fifth on the list.
- Scooby Axson