In one of the world's biggest cities, the Los Angeles Lakers continue to dwarf the rest of the NBA in overall value. The amount of access, media coverage and tradition all factor in to why the Lakers are the NBA's most resourceful franchise.
In Forbes' recent audit on the top valued NBA franchises, the Lakers came out on top yet again, increasing their worth over 40 percent to $900 million.
The entire league featured a boost in revenue from the new collective bargaining agreement and a slew of new television deals that take teams well into the 2030s, but it is the Lakers who reign supreme, reminding us all why they are able to put a winning product on the court year after year.
This offseason, the Lakers set themselves up nicely to make multiple title runs. Veteran and former two-time MVP Steve Nash is now running the offense. Perennial Defensive Player of the Year candidate and multiple All-Star Dwight Howard is protecting the paint.
Role players Antawn Jamison and Jodie Meeks have also come aboard, putting the Lakers in the category of popular teams to represent the Western Conference in the NBA Finals in June 2013.
And don't forget, Pau Gasol and Kobe Bryant are still the top two options for this team. Their combined salary is close to $47 million for 2012-13, more than a third of what the league considers a "soft" salary cap.
Adding all that salary would be trouble for some teams. Not L.A., who has the financial backing of one of the league's biggest television deals and ownership that can claim the rights to being some of the richest men in the United States, and even the world.
In 2011, the Lakers struck a deal with Time Warner Cable to blow television coverage of the purple and gold out of the water.
Time Warner gets a monopoly on almost all Lakers games. Their adding coverage to the preseason, training camp and even inside access that wasn't covered with Fox Sports West, the previous carrier of L.A. broadcasts until this year.
Once reported to be close to $3 billion over the life of the 20-year deal, it's now estimated that L.A. will receive close to $200 million annually for the life of the deal, which kicks in to start the 2012-13 season.
Those kind of numbers are evidence enough to support the claim that the Lakers are the most resourceful franchise on the planet.
If that wasn't enough, the team boasts some of the most high-profile ownership names in professional sports. Jerry Buss, the long-time majority owner, is at the top of that list.
But names like Magic Johnson have appeared over the years, as well as a man by the name of Patrick Soon-Shiong, who is currently in the running to purchase AEG—the company who holds the rights to the Staples Center—and is the driving force to bring an NFL team back to the area.
Soon-Shiong owns a five percent stake in the Lakers, and if AEG is unable to climb out of the financial hole they're in, it looks like the L.A. spendthrift will own the company that holds the financial advertising rights to the Staples Center. What a coup that would be.
If the money wasn't enough, it's the tradition and success that really sets the Lakers apart. Aside from the Boston Celtics, no team has more Hall of Famers, more championships and more cultural tradition.
Simply put, when people want to come play for your team, it's easy.
When you have the financial backing to outbid everyone else involved for their services, it's almost unfair. Think about the Steve Nash situation this summer. Or even Dwight Howard, who felt initially poor about joining the team thanks to Kobe's "third option" nonsense, is now the big star that will eventually succeed Bryant.
This tweet from Bleacher Report's feed should tell you all you need to know about L.A.
There aren't many franchises that can compete with the resources the Lakers employ. Despite being in a stadium with another team, a city that features most of the movie stars on the planet and a state that makes national headlines every day, the Lakers always find a way to get it done.
The history and dignity that the Lakers employ hangs in the rafters, and it shines in the Basketball Hall of Fame. It's produced players like Wilt Chamberlain, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Magic, James Worthy, Shaquille O'Neal and Bryant. It attracted Phil Jackson, and we know how that turned out.
And now, it's given way to a new class of stars in Hollywood, stars that are expected to yet again be the class of the Western Conference. We don't know yet if they will live up to that expectation, but they've made darn sure no one will beat them to the collective punch.
Oh, and they do have Jack Nicholson sitting in the front row each week. How cool is that?
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