However, for the first time since Forbes magazine began tracking the finances of NBA franchises 11 years ago, the average team value declined this year.
The value of an NBA team, on average, fell 4 percent to $367 million and 12 of the league’s 30 teams were estimated to have posted operating losses last season, according to Forbes, which released its annual list on Wednesday.
Most sports leagues have been affected by the weak economy, which has caused consumers and corporate backers to spend less on tickets and sponsorships.
Last month, Forbes estimated the average value of National Hockey League teams rose 1.4 percent to $223 million. In September, the magazine said the value of eight National Football League teams had declined and the overall league average was flat at $1.04 billion.
The Lakers, which Kobe Bryant led to the title last season over the Orlando Magic, seized the top spot with a value of $607 million, up 4 percent from last year, Forbes said. The Lakers topped the New York Knicks (off 4 percent to $586 million), which had held the top spot the previous four years.
Rounding out the top five were the Chicago Bulls (up 2 percent to $511 million), the Detroit Pistons (flat at $479 million) and Cleveland Cavaliers (flat at $476 million), according to Forbes.
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