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Knicks most valuable NBA franchise, worth $1.4 billion according to Forbes

Jan 22, 2014, 1:27 PM EDT

Madison Square Garden Getty Images

A more favorable Collective Bargaining Agreement for the owners coupled with a crop of young stars increasing television ratings has been good for NBA owners.

Franchise valuations are up. Way up. Setting record levels up. Up 25 percent on average over a year ago up. The average team made a profit of $23.7 million.

And you wonder why the owners are so loyal to David Stern.

Those figures are from Forbes Magazine, which released its annual report on franchise values Wednesday. While the magazine’s assessment is admittedly somewhat flawed, until the NBA owners decide to open their books up to the public (good luck with that) this is the best we have.

At the top of the list money-making list is the New York Knicks, which in a renovated Madison Square Garden is worth a record $1.4 billion, according to Forbes. Because the renovated building is drawing in more money than expected, the Knicks had a league-record profit for the 2012-13 season of $96 million, the magazine estimates.

The Lakers are just half a step back of the Knicks in franchise value at $1.35 billion, reports Forbes, and the team turned a tidy $66 million profit, according to the magazine. The main reason for all the cash is the massive $3.6 billion local television deal they struck with Time Warner Cable.

The rest of the top 10 are the Chicago Bulls ($1 billion), the Boston Celtics ($875 million), the Brooklyn Nets ($780 million), the Houston Rockets ($775 million), the Miami Heat ($770 million), the Dallas Mavericks ($760 million), the Golden State Warriors ($750 million), and the San Antonio Spurs ($660 million).

The bottom five are the Minnesota Timberwolves ($430 million, and they operated at a $2.7 million loss last season according to Forbes), the Atlanta Hawks ($425 million), the New Orleans Pelicans ($420 million), the Charlotte Bobcats ($410 million), and the Milwaukee Bucks ($405 million).

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