Cavs among worst values in NBA per Forbes

Dan Gilbert

Dan Gilbert, Mike Brown, Chris GrantWhat is “value” in the NBA? Is it wins? Is it bang-for-the-buck? Is it rooted in absurd television deals? Well, Forbes announced its annual valuations of the National Basketball Association’s 30 teams, naming—surprise!— the usually hapless New York Knicks as the most valuable team worth $1.4 billion, up 27 percent over last season. The Cleveland Cavaliers are slotted 19th overall, coming in at $515 million, a 19 percent jump over last year’s valuation1.

Over the course of 2013, Forbes forecasts that the Cavaliers pulled in $145 million in revenue, good enough to be among the top 12 in the league. Their operating income, however, as categorized as their earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization, slots in at $10.8 million—better than just eight other NBA franchises. Worse, the Cavaliers are ranked as one of the league’s worst teams for the money (29th overall), having average player expenses (salaries, benefits and bonuses) of $63 million and just 64 wins over the last three seasons with nothing in the way of playoff appearances.

So how’d the Knicks do it? A three-year, $1 billion renovation of Madison Square Garden certainly helps—it pushed the Knicks’ revenue to $287 million, net of revenue sharing. The Knicks’ average TV rating on the MSG Network experienced a 71 percent jump from the previous season, as they made the second round of the playoffs for the first time since 2000. The playoff run and arena renovation helped the Knicks generate operating income of $96 million–reportedly a record for an NBA franchise. For more evidence of the large-market television deals playing a role in a way that would make baseball fans blush, cable money pushed the Lakers’ revenue to a record $295 million, net of revenue sharing2. (The Lake Show’s revenue sharing bill is roughly twice the size of the tab for the Knicks, but the Knicks get a break due to their $1 billion investment in Madison Square Garden.) More proof that TV rules the roost: Even with revenue sharing and a $29.3 million luxury tax bill that comes with the territory of having the NBA’s highest payroll, the Lakers turned an operating profit of $66 million, second highest in the NBA, roughly six times that of the Cavaliers.

For those wondering, the Cavs do have the seventh-best television deal in the league, one which nets the team an average of $25 million per season, but one that is also up at the end of the 2015-16 NBA season—the very season All-Star point guard Kyrie Irving has a $9.2 million qualifying offer with the team.

(AP Photo/Jason Miller)

  1. Per Forbes, the average NBA team is now worth $634 million, 25 percent more than a year ago. []
  2. The Lakers inked a 20-year deal with Time Warner Cable for the creation of two new RSNs — one in English and one in Spanish — worth $200 million annually beginning with the 2012-13 season. Last season the team received $122 million, more than 3.5 times more than what the team received from its share of revenue from the NBA’s national television rights partners ESPN/ABC and TNT. []
  • The_Real_Shamrock

    There really is no joy in mudville!!!!

  • mgbode

    large-market television deals playing a role in a way that would make baseball fans blush

    yeah, basketball has less games, so there is definitely a premium of $$/game, but the annual revenue isn’t higher.

    *LA Dodgers $240mil
    #LA Lakers $200mil or $150mil
    LA Angels $150mil
    ?LA Clippers ??

    *note: Dodgers actually receiving $340mil/year from their TV deal, but MLB is taking $100mil/year from them.

    #note: Lakers deal is $3bil/20years according to Bloomberg — I have seen the $4bil number elsewhere that you report above: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-10-30/lakers-are-ready-for-nba-spotlight-with-nash-3-billion-tv-deal.html

    ?note: They apparently are 5 years in on a deal with PrimeTicket, but I cannot find the dollar amount other than significantly more than the $12.5mil/year they were making beforehand

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    P.S. I really dislike that photo. I have a hard time not being reminded of “The 3 Stooges” even though it’s an entirely different sport.

  • JHop

    25% average return?? That settles it, I’m buying an NBA franchise.

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    If we win that $1 billion prize by Buffet/Gilbert for a perfect NCAA Tourney bracket we can probably try to buy one of the teams.

    Here’s a question for everyone, anyone: If you could buy one of the professional sports teams in Cleveland which would it be?

  • JHop

    Forget buying a team, I’d bring back the Cleveland Crunch.

  • @TheDeePagel

    Wow. I’d have to go with the Browns, even though my love for the Indians is just a slight tick higher.

    I would just get too frustrated trying to compete financially in the MLB world with the Yanks, Red Sox, Dodgers, Angels, etc..

    The Browns would give me a sold out stadium every game, and a cap to keep the playing field even.

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    Hey, that wasn’t the question. I’m a Force guy I didn’t like the scoring in that league in which the Crunch belonged although I did like the candy bar!

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    Probably a wise choice I like the Red Sox more then the Patriots so it couldn’t be the Indians for me.

  • mgbode

    it would cost too much money. you only get $500mil if you take the lump sum and then it’s taxed (Browns sold for $1.1bil). you cannot even buy the Indians back in 2001 for what you would get.

    that is how crazy rich you have to be to buy a team.

  • Wow

    It’s kind of fitting they are laughing because they make millions and who cares what kind of team they put on the court.

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    I hope they care all I know is Dan Gilbert is not a savior in my eyes. Frankly I really don’t care for the guy I think the city has done just as much for him as he’s done for the city. And if he could replace the Cavaliers with the Pistons he’d do it in a heart beat.

    Mike Brown yes he seems to be a tremendous person but his coaching leaves a lot to be desired. The fact he was rehired here is something the Cavaliers will never live down UNLESS they win something, anything even a division title.

    Chris Grant is the one I have the least issues with I mean overall I think he’s done a pretty good job considering he was handcuffed when the best player in the league decided to leave. Have his drafts been great? Not by a long shot but it happens just ask the Cleveland Browns. I like the trades he’s made for me this is his biggest plus. This summer is big for me however. I’m hoping we see Grant do something significant.

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    Neither of my parents or for that matter anyone in my family is rich enough to WILL me enough. Slackers!

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    And stop trying to kill what little optimism I have left!

    In fact ya know what I’ve had enough of you with these corrections – you and me – Thunderdome – one man enters, one man leaves.

    3 words ‘bode: IT’S CLOBBERIN’ TIME!!!!

  • JHop

    WHOA. The Crunch had 2 titles to the Force’s 0 AND had a much better logo. Crunch > Force. QED.

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    Those titles were the equivalent to an Arena League Football Team verse the NFL. And the Force by far had the better logo they didn’t copy a candy bar!

  • mgbode

    one man enters, one man leaves.

    doesn’t sound too daunting.

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    Mrs. Bode must want to kill you. It was supposed to be “two men enter, one man leave” arghhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!

  • mgbode

    well, in that case, anytime Sham, anytime.

    Just kidding. I would feel absolutely terrible for killing you and I don’t need that guilt on my shoulders ;)