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Could the Warriors really be worth over $400 million?

May 28, 2010, 1:40 PM EDT

The Warriors continued their tired march as one of the most poorly run organizations in the NBA this season, with their 26-56 record nothing more than a reflection of the team’s misfortune from top to bottom. There is undeniable talent on the Golden State roster — had Steph Curry started rolling in November rather than January, he very well may have been the Rookie of the Year — but there are all kinds of ill-fitting parts and a coach that doesn’t seem to care to figure it all out.

They’re poised to get better, as Curry, Anthony Randolph, and Monta Ellis will continue to improve. Golden State will add the No. 6 pick in this summer’s draft, and while that may not be John Wall or Evan Turner, the Warriors could still add an impact player. Golden State could actually become moderately successful, should they manage to shed some of the ridiculous salary that’s gumming up the works.

Apparently those petty details — lack of winning, large, oppressive contracts, etc. –  aren’t sandbagging the valuations of the Warriors franchise, though. From Rex Crum and David Biderman of the Wall Street Journal:

The Warriors, who are up for sale, are likely to fetch more than
$400 million, according to several people familiar with the team’s
finances. That would be a record for an NBA squad, surpassing the $401
million paid by businessman Robert Sarver for the Phoenix Suns in 2004
and the approximately $240 million paid by NBA Hall of Famer Michael
Jordan for the Charlotte Bobcats in February.

Spurring the
Warriors’ value is a number of factors–almost none of which are related
to how the team has played over the past 15 years. Instead, the value
has everything to do with the team’s Bay Area market, ticket sales and
a below-market television deal that is set to expire in 2015.

Larry Ellison set the bar with a $315 million offer, but according to the Journal’s sources, that seems like a low-ball. Maybe the value of the Warriors really is that high due to the attractiveness of the market, but the very notion that one of the worst franchises in the sport could set league records with its sale is a bit odd. Obviously there are things far more valuable than basketball success, and that’s what a potential owner would really be paying for.

Still, the Warriors? The Warriors? The market is great and the fan base is fantastic, but this is a case where even though the team has done so many things so poorly for so long from ownership to management to the on-court product, the team could bring in more money than any other NBA team ever sold. That’s just…great.

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