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Knicks pass Lakers as league’s most valuable franchise

Jan 26, 2011, 7:38 PM EDT

Amare Stoudemire high five

The return of the Knicks to prominence has led to a 12 percent jump in the value of the franchise, vaulting it over the Lakers into the top spot on Forbes’ rankings of NBA franchise value.

The Knicks jumped from a worth of $586 million to $655 million, based on increased season ticket sales and sponsorship deals in the wake of signing Amar’e Stoudemire and a return to basketball relevancy in the nation’s largest market, according to the report.

Isiah Thomas has ideas about how to spend that money, if James Dolan would just give him a call.

The Lakers value increased six percent to $643 million and they remain the second most valuable franchise. They are followed by Chicago ($511) million, Boston ($452 million) and Houston ($443 million). Your bottom three are the Memphis Grizzlies ($266 million), the Minnesota Timberwolves ($264 million), and the big “winner” is the Milwaukee Bucks ($258 million).

The value of the Heat jumped a league-high 17 percent after signing LeBron James; the value of the Cavaliers fell 26 percent to $355 million upon LeBron’s exit.

Also in this report are sown the seeds of future Collective Bargaining Agreement arguments.

The Players Association will note that overall the value of franchises rose one percent despite the down economy, a sign that the economics of the league are just fine. The owners will counter that 17 of the 30 franchises saw a decrease in value, a sign that the current system is not working for the majority of owners. The union will say this is a matter of revenue sharing among the owners. And the song remains the same.

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