A first: Every NBA team worthat least $1B

REUTERS
LOS ANGELES
Published

The NBA is thriving at a rate it never has before, according to Forbes' annual franchise valuations. For the first time in league history, all 30 teams are worth at least $1 billion, according to Forbes. The New York Knicks lead the pack for the third straight year at $3.6 billion while the Los Angeles Lakers ($3.3 billion), Golden State Warriors ($3.1 billion), Chicago Bulls ($2.6 billion) and Boston Celtics ($2.5 billion) round out the top five.

The lowest valued team is the New Orleans Pelicans at $1 billion. The average franchise is worth $1.652 billion, Forbes says, 22 percent more than last year. The Forbes report cites the league's international growth prospects and its new television contracts with Time Warner's TNT and Walt Disney's ESPN among the reasons for financial success.

The Warriors continue to climb up the value rankings, leaping past the Bulls for third this year. The Houston Rockets received a big bump up to $2.2 billion -- the price the franchise was reportedly purchased for by billionaire Tilman Fertitta late last year. Other notable risers include the Sacramento Kings ($1.375 billion), Detroit Pistons ($1.1 billion) and Milwaukee Bucks ($1.075 billion), who have all received boosts from new arenas.

The Philadelphia 76ers had the biggest gain in value at 48 percent to $1.18 billion. The Cleveland Cavaliers are 15th on the list at $1.325 billion and are the only team to lose money on an operating basis thanks to its steep payroll and luxury tax bills, according to Forbes.

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