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Forbes magazine and the economics of the NBA

December 4, 2008 |  1:30 pm

Phil Jackson, left, listens to Kobe Bryant.

As I mentioned Wednesday, Forbes magazine came out with its list of the most valuable NBA teams. According to Forbes, the Lakers are worth $584 million (second only to the New York Knicks at an estimated $613 million), and the purple and gold had $47.9 million in operating income, the second-best among 30 NBA clubs.

Meanwhile, the Clippers were estimated to have $10.7 million in operating income on revenue of $99 million. The magazine pegs the value of Donald Sterling's team at $297 million, a lowly 25th on the list. The least valuable team on Forbes' list was the Milwaukee Bucks at $278 million.

Forbes estimates that 10 of the league's 30 teams are generating operating losses. Here's a breakdown of Forbes' top- and bottom-feeders:

Top five NBA teams (profit from operations):

1. Chicago Bulls ($55.4 million)

2. Lakers ($47.9 million)

3. Detroit Pistons ($40.4 million)

4. Houston Rockets ($31.2 million)

5. New York Knicks ($29.6 million)

Bottom five NBA teams (loss from operations)

1. Denver Nuggets (-$26.3 million)

2. Dallas Mavericks (-$13.6 million)

3. Oklahoma City Thunder (-$9.4 million)

4. Indiana Pacers (-$6.5 million)

5. Minnesota Timberwolves (-$5.7 million)

-- Barry Stavro

Photo: Lakers head coach Phil Jackson, left, listens to Kobe Bryant during a time out on Wednesday night. The Lakers beat the 76ers 114-102.  Credit: Tom Mihalek / Associated Press