Categories: Lifestyle

How Much Are NBA Teams Worth? (And Why Franchise Values Will Keep Increasing)

If there’s one thing every sports fan wishes he or she could do, it’s own a sports team. Sure, it takes a hell of a lot of money — we’re talking multi-billions to be able to operate the business and pay some of the highest-paid athletes in sports — but it’s fun to think about what a diehard fan could do if he or she were in charge. That got us thinking about how much each NBA team is worth heading into the upcoming season, even if it is still a few months away.

With a lot of differences following trades and free-agency that happened this summer — like LeBron James going from the Cleveland Cavaliers to the Los Angeles Lakers, among others — the value of each NBA franchise has certainly changed. But, according to Statista, these are how much NBA teams are worth at this very moment, so, if you’re interested in buying, get ready to open up your checkbook in a big way.

How Much NBA Teams Are Worth After The 2017-18 Season

  • New Orleans Pelicans ($1 billion)
    • Owner: Tom Benson

With one of the league’s biggest superstars, Anthony Davis, the New Orleans Pelicans might rank last in the NBA when it comes to how much NBA teams are worth, but, in Davis, they’ve still got a reason for fans to flock to home games.

  • Memphis Grizzlies ($1.025 billion)
    • Owners: Robert J. Pera, Daniel E. Straus, Steven Kaplan

Following a successful run to the playoffs throughout the past decade, the Memphis Grizzlies are in a full rebuild mode. Playing in a small market that can be tough to attract top free-agent talent, the team will always have a difficult time building a contender through anything but the NBA draft.

  • Charlotte Hornets ($1.050 billion)
    • Owner: Michael Jordan

The majority owner of the Charlotte Hornets, Michael Jordan, is considered to be the greatest player of all-time. While his NBA team has yet to see similar success, at least the franchise is under the guidance of a person who has been there and done that — if only he could sprinkle the championship magic, though.

  • Minnesota Timberwolves ($1.060 billion)
    • Owner: Glen Taylor

With a young core in Karl-Anthony Towns, Jimmy Butler and Andrew Wiggins, among others, the Minnesota Timberwolves are expected to be contenders in the next few years. Still, when it comes to how much NBA teams are worth, they’re lacking a bit.

  • Milwaukee Bucks ($1.075 billion)
    • Owners: Marc Lasry and Wesley Edens

A playoff team with a budding superstar in Giannis Antetokounmpo, the Milwaukee Bucks may boast a box office star, but the overall value of the franchise is still low due to playing in a smaller market. Even with the presence of Antetokounmpo, it’s tough to bring on another star to pair next to him.

  • Detroit Pistons ($1.100 billion)
    • Owner: Tom Gores

Following success in the early-2000s, which saw an NBA title come back to the city, the Detroit Pistons haven’t been as fortunate lately. But, with a new arena just opening in downtown Detroit and a couple young stars to play together, Blake Griffin and Andre Drummond, this franchise may see its value increase over the years a bit.

  • Denver Nuggets ($1.125 billion)
    • Owner: Ann Walton Kroenke

Another young team with potential to do some damage in the NBA, the Denver Nuggets play in a mid-sized market that may never see them rise into the top-10 of team valuations, but could see them at least compete. Hey, if their NFL counterparts, the Denver Broncos, can score big with free-agents, maybe the Nuggets can as well?

  • Atlanta Hawks ($1.150 billion)
    • Owners: Tony Ressler, Grant Hill, Steven Price, Rick Schnall, Sara Blakely, Jesse Itzler

Seemingly stuck in neutral over the past few seasons, the Atlanta Hawks are one of those teams that can’t seem to make up its mind on rebuilding or trying to compete. With the addition of soon-to-be rookie Trae Young, this team should be exciting to watch.

  • Indiana Pacers ($1.175 billion)
    • Owner: Herbert Simon

Following a first-round exit in the 2018 NBA playoffs, the Indiana Pacers have young talent that has now been battle-tested. However, when it comes to valuation, playing in a small city like Indianapolis prohibits how much they’re really worth — not that $1.175 billion is anything to scoff at.

  • Philadelphia 76ers ($1.180 billion)
    • Owners: Joshua Harris, Adam Aron, David Blitzer, Martin J. Geller, David B. Heller, Travis Hennings, James Lassiter, Marc Leder, Michael Rubin, Will Smith, Jada Pinkett Smith, Art Wrubel, Handy Soetedjo, Erick Thohir, Kevin Hart

After “trusting the process” during a difficult four-year stretch that led to young stars like Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid, among others, the Philadelphia 76ers are now a trendy choice to become the beasts of the Eastern Conference. Playing in a mid-sized market like Philly leaves this franchise in the middle of the pack of how much NBA teams are worth, though.

  • Utah Jazz ($1.200 billion)
    • Owner: Gail Miller

Playing in Salt Lake City, the Utah Jazz have a difficult time to attract big-time free agents. That hasn’t stopped them from building from within over the past three decades, though, as names like Karl Malone and John Stockton became synonymous with success. Donovan Mitchell appears to be a star in the making, so we’ll see if he’s enough to help lead them to compete on the hardwood and when it comes to NBA team valuation.

  • Orlando Magic ($1.225 billion)
    • Owner: Richard DeVos

Playing in the state of Florida, which doesn’t have a state income tax, as well as the allure of warm weather doesn’t seem to be enough to attract top-tier free agents. Although the team has seen a few years of success since it first arrived in the NBA, the small market they play in keeps them middle of the road in terms of how much NBA teams are worth.

  • Oklahoma City Thunder ($1.250 billion)
    • Owner: Clay Bennett

Moving from Seattle to Oklahoma City over a decade ago, the Oklahoma City Thunder remain to be a small-market team. While that may hurt their chance of being valued in the top-10 on this list, it hasn’t held them back from producing young stars like Russell Westbrook, among others superstars.

  • Phoenix Suns ($1.280 billion)
    • Owner: Robert Sarver

Selecting DeAndre Ayton No. 1 overall in the 2018 NBA Draft is a good start in rebuilding, but the Phoenix Suns still have a long way to go until they can consider themselves playoff ready. That said, with a $1.280 billion NBA franchise valuation, not all things are bad in the Valley of the Sun — even if that figure does seem a bit low given the team’s locale.

  • Portland Trail Blazers ($1.300 billion)
    • Owner: Paul Allen

A consistent playoff team over the year, the Portland Trail Blazers might be that team who just can’t seem to get casual NBA fans’ respect. That’s mainly due to the location of the team — which is hidden in the Pacific Northwest — meaning many games are on late-night. Still, team owner Paul Allen has a nice business asset given the franchise’s $1.300 billion valuation.

  • Cleveland Cavaliers ($1.325 billion)
    • Owner: Dan Gilbert

Things are going to look mighty different for the Cleveland Cavaliers starting this upcoming season. After four-straight trips to the NBA Finals, which included a title in 2016, LeBron James has taken his talents west to the Los Angeles Lakers. With James’ departure, ownership hopes to stay competitive, but one would imagine the value of the team will take a hit.

  • Washington Wizards ($1.350 billion)
    • Owner: Ted Leonsis

Playing in the nation’s Capitol, Washington D.C., the Washington Wizards has a strong following and is surrounded by lots of money within that region. However, lacking much success may play a part in where they rank on the list of NBA teams’ valuation.

  • Sacramento Kings ($1.375 billion)
    • Owners: Vivek Ranadivé, Paul E. Jacobs, Gary E. Jacobs, Hal Jacobs, Jeffrey A. Jacobs

The Sacramento Kings might not have a championship, or have even had many years of success, but with a fairly new ownership group and their Northern California location, the club still finds itself higher than you might expect on this list.

  • Toronto Raptors ($1.400 billion)
    • Owner: Larry Tanenbaum

The only Canadian-based team in the NBA, the Toronto Raptors might not get a lot of respect from most casual basketball fans for some reason, yet they’ve enjoyed years of success. With the addition of Kawhi Leonard this offseason, one would think that would continue.

  • San Antonio Spurs ($1.550 billion)
    • Owner: Peter Holt

Arguably, the most consistent NBA team of the past 20-plus years, the San Antonio Spurs have won five NBA titles since 1999. While the names on the back of the uniforms change, head coach Gregg Popovich always seems to have them in position for a playoff berth. Even in a small-market like San Antonio, the team still finds itself high on this list.

  • Miami Heat ($1.700 billion)
    • Owner: Micky Arison

Who doesn’t love South Beach, right? Following two titles and four-straight trips to the NBA Finals from 2011-15, the team has dipped a bit, but hasn’t completely fallen into oblivion. With an expensive area code and a city like Miami to call home, it’s no surprise owner Micky Arison has the team valued at $1.700 billion.

  • Dallas Mavericks ($1.900 billion)
    • Owner: Mark Cuban

How much are NBA teams worth? This was probably something that Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban asked back in the year 2000, was told the answer and then proceeded to purchase the franchise. The guy is worth billions, and with an NBA title under his belt (2011) along with years of success and a major city like Dallas to call home, it’s easy to see why Cuban has his team sitting at No. 8 on the NBA valuation list.

  • Los Angeles Clippers ($2.150 billion)
    • Owner: Steve Ballmer

Owned by Microsoft guru Steve Ballmer, the Los Angeles Clippers have changed their culture since the tech mogul took over the franchise in 2014. Still, the team has never won an NBA title and has a long history of losing, which hurts its reputation a bit. However, playing in Los Angeles is a great way to stay relevant and see business boom.

  • Houston Rockets ($2.200 billion)
    • Owner: Tilman Fertitta

Coming just one game from the NBA Finals last season, the Houston Rockets not only play in a major market, but they also have league MVP James Harden, among other All-Stars, making this NBA team primed for a high valuation.

  • Brooklyn Nets ($2.300 billion)
    • Owner: Mikhail Prokhorov

The Brooklyn Nets moved into a swanky new arena in the biggest borough in New York City back in 2012, but haven’t seen the success it had hoped for. That may change, but with its last playoff appearance all the way back in 2015, owner Mikhail Prokhorov should be happy his NBA team plays in a major market, which surely helps the value of the franchise.

  • Boston Celtics ($2.500 billion)
    • Owner: Wyc Grousbeck

A trendy pick to get to the NBA Finals for years to come thanks to its bevy of young talent, the Boston Celtics have a storied history of success, boasting the most championships (17), in league history. With that type of success, it should be no surprise that they’re valued so high.

  • Chicago Bulls ($2.600 billion)
    • Owner: Jerry Reinsdorf

Gone are the days of winning NBA championships at ease, but the Chicago Bulls are still one of the NBA teams worth the most. Some of that comes from that previous success, while a lot has to do with the major market in which they play in.

  • Golden State Warriors ($3.100 billion)
    • Owners: Joe Lacob, Peter Guber

Currently in the midst of one of the greatest dynasties in league history, the Golden State Warriors have superstars Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green, among others, who are transforming the league. Winning three of the past four NBA titles certainly hasn’t hurt the team’s overall valuation.

  • Los Angeles Lakers ($3.300 billion)
    • Owners: Jeanie Buss, Jim Buss and Johnny Buss, along with siblings in the Jerry Buss family trust

Along with the Boston Celtics, the Los Angeles Lakers are one of the most iconic NBA franchises ever. They’ve hit a speed bump in success since the retirement of former superstar Kobe Bryant, but the addition of LeBron James this summer has expectations and hype high again.

  • New York Knicks ($3.600 billion)
    • Owner: James Dolan

The New York Knicks haven’t been to the playoffs since the 2012-13 season, yet, here they are, atop the list of the highest-valued NBA teams. Playing in one of the world’s biggest markets and in Madison Square Garden has a lot to do with that.

So, how much are NBA teams worth? Considering every single franchise has a valuation of at least $1 billion, it’s clear that business is booming and it’s good to be an owner. That said, don’t expect to become a team owner anytime soon, as even a winning lottery ticket wouldn’t give you enough cash to buy one. Oh, well, sports fans can dream, right?

(H/T Statista)

Lead image via Getty

The Editorial Staff

The Editorial staff are financial enthusiasts and analysts from across America. Their profession expertise extends to corporate consulting, accounting, and financial strategy.

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