14 NBA Teams Lost Money Last Year Before Revenue Sharing, Per Financial Records

Scott PolacekFeatured ColumnistSeptember 19, 2017

NBA basketballs are seen at the AT&T Center before Game 2 of a first-round NBA basketball playoff series between the San Antonio Spurs and the Memphis Grizzlies, Monday, April 17, 2017, in San Antonio. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)
Eric Gay/Associated Press

Nearly half of the NBA's 30 teams reportedly lost money before collecting revenue-sharing payouts during the 2016-17 season.

On Tuesday, Brian Windhorst and Zach Lowe of ESPN.com cited NBA financial records and noted 14 teams lost money before the payments. What's more, nine of the teams lost money even after the payouts.

According to Windhorst and Lowe, league owners will review the revenue-sharing system during the Board of Governors meeting on Sept. 27-28.

The report noted sources said 10 instead of 14 teams lost money before revenue sharing when using operating income—which doesn't account for some debt—as a measurement.

The nine teams that lost money following the sharing were the Atlanta Hawks, Brooklyn Nets, Cleveland Cavaliers, Detroit Pistons, Memphis Grizzlies, Milwaukee Bucks, Orlando Magic, San Antonio Spurs and Washington Wizards.

It is notable six of those nine teams made the playoffs last season, including the Cavaliers. Cleveland features the league's biggest star in LeBron James and reached its third straight NBA Finals but still lost money after revenue sharing.

Windhorst and Lowe stressed "critics of the system want to tweak it, not blow it up," when pointing out the NBA is not struggling from a big-picture financial perspective. The collective bargaining agreement goes through 2024, the 30 teams as a whole made more than $530 million in 2016-17 and there has been "a flood of new national television cash."

Windhorst and Lowe also noted the combined earnings of more than $530 million only accounts for basketball operations and not the revenue generated by teams that own their arenas and host non-basketball events.