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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