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Lakers are NBA's most valuable and profitable team

December 9, 2009 |  4:42 pm

Kobelakers Forbes magazine pegs the Lakers as the NBA's most valuable team, worth $607 million, and it was also the league's most profitable club during the 2008-09 season with an operating profit of $51.1 million on $209 million in revenue.

The magazine says that 12 of the league's 30 teams lost money last season and the two biggest losses were posted by teams owned by billionaires. The Portland Trail Blazers lost the most, with an operating loss of $20.3 million; the team is owned by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen. And Mark Cuban's Dallas Mavericks had the second-biggest loss, with an operating loss of $17.4 million.

Forbes says the New York Knicks ranked second in value at $586 million, followed by the Chicago Bulls ($511 million), Detroit Pistons ($479 million) and Cleveland Cavaliers ($476 million). The Knicks had been ranked as the most valuable team for the last four seasons.

Donald Sterling's Clippers ranked a lowly 23rd in value, at $295 million, but for all the Clippers'  troubles on the court, off the court Sterling runs them like a fine-tuned cash cow. The Clippers have no debt and had an operating profit of $10 million last season on $102 million in revenue, Forbes said.

--Barry Stavro

Photo: Kobe Bryant objects to a foul in Friday's game against Miami. Photo credit: Gina Ferrazi / Los Angeles Times.