NBA Finals: By The Numbers
The 2010 NBA finals is an exciting and frustrating time for fans, players and owners. Some fans will be happy their team made it to the finals. Others will be wondering what their team can do to improve next year. For the owners and players it is an exciting time as well. After all, this is a professional sport and a lot of money is at stake for owners, players and anyone else with a financial interest in the game.

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A look at the numbers will provide some insight on the game and what it means to interested parties.

By The Numbers


  • $607 million: The value Forbes magazine set for the Los Angeles Lakers after winning the NBA championship in 2009. The New York Knicks came in second ($586 million), followed by the Chicago Bulls ($511 million), the Detroit Pistons ($479 million) and the Cleveland Cavaliers ($476 million). (Find out how money plays a part in the world of baseball. Read Money Can't Buy Happiness, But What About World Series Championships?)

  • $91,377,313: The payroll for the Lakers for the 2009-2010 season. The Dallas Mavericks come in second at $86.9 million followed by the Boston Celtics ($86.5 million), the New York Knicks ($85.1 million) and then the Cleveland Cavaliers ($84.5 million). The Mavericks, Knicks and Cavaliers all failed to make it to the conference finals in 2010.

    Does a high payroll create more value for the owner? The table below compares team payrolls and the top 10 and bottom 10 teams by value as determined by Forbes. Eyeballing the list there is a correlation that the higher your payroll the better valuation you receive. It's unclear if the Clippers raised their payroll to the Lakers level they would see their valuation rise. Winning would go a long way to making a difference.
Team
Value (Millions)
2009-2010 Payroll (Millions)
Ratio
Lakers
607
91.377
15.1%
Knicks
586
85.06
14.5%
Pistons
479
61.678
12.9%
Bulls
511
69.993
13.7%
Rockets
470
69.267
14.7%
Cavaliers
476
84.453
17.7%
Mavericks
446
86.972
19.5%
Suns
429
74.927
17.5%
Celtics
433
86.455
20.0%
Spurs
398
79.159
19.9%
Bottom 10 by Team Value
Hawks
306
65.876
21.5%
Kings
305
67.364
22.1%
Clippers
295
61.447
20.8%
Pacers
281
66.733
23.7%
Bobcats
278
68.591
24.7%
Nets
269
59.397
22.1%
Timberwolves
268
62.55
23.3%
Hornets
267
70.904
26.6%
Grizzlies
257
57.406
22.3%
Bucks
254
66.944
26.4%


  • $23,239,561: Tracy McGrady's New York Knicks salary for the 2009-2010 season, making him the league's highest paid player. Kobe Bryant of the LA Lakers came in second at $23.0 million. (Learn about undervalued sports contracts in Financial Pro Sports Steals.)

  • $51.1 million: The most operating income for an NBA franchise, by you guessed it, the Lakers. The Chicago Bulls produced $51.0 million followed by the Detroit Pistons with $46.9 million.

  • 17: Most championships by an NBA team. The Boston Celtics have won 17 championships followed closely by the Minneapolis/Los Angeles Lakers, who have won 15 NBA championships. As of the writing of this article, the Celtics and the Lakers were playing for a spot in the 2010 finals.

  • 2 of 3: Two of the top three teams in total payrolls have won the most championships, indicating that high salaries do contribute to on-the-court success.
Bottom Line
Like any business, some NBA teams always are on top while others lag. As any sports fanatic knows there are many numbers that offer additional insight. Following the numbers distinguishes the best from the also ran. Just remember to enjoy the game.


Get a rundown of the latest financial news in this week's Water Cooler Finance: Buffett Buzz, Toxic CDOs And Facebook Privacy.

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