Knicks, Lakers Headline Forbes' List of Most Valuable NBA Franchises

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistFebruary 15, 2017

SACRAMENTO, CA - DECEMBER 9: Justin Holiday #8, Brandon Jennings #3, Kristaps Porzingis #6 and Kyle O'Quinn #9 of the New York Knicks huddle during the game against the Sacramento Kings on December 9, 2016 at Golden 1 Center in Sacramento, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2016 NBAE (Photo by Rocky Widner/NBAE via Getty Images)
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The New York Knicks and Los Angeles Lakers headline Forbes' annual list of the most valuable NBA franchises as the only teams with a projected worth of at least $3 billion.

Forbes released the complete 2017 ranking Wednesday morning.

Here's a look at the full list of valuations for the NBA's 30 teams:

Forbes' 2017 Ranking of NBA Franchises By Value
1New York Knicks$3.3 billion
2Los Angeles Lakers$3 billion
3Golden State Warriors$2.6 billion
4Chicago Bulls$2.5 billion
5Boston Celtics$2.2 billion
6Los Angeles Clippers$2 billion
7Brooklyn Nets$1.8 billion
8Houston Rockets$1.65 billion
9Dallas Mavericks$1.45 billion
10Miami Heat$1.35 billion
11Cleveland Cavaliers$1.2 billion
12San Antonio Spurs$1.175 billion
13Toronto Raptors$1.125 billion
14Phoenix Suns$1.1 billion
15Sacramento Kings$1.075 billion
16Portland Trail Blazers$1.05 billion
17Oklahoma City Thunder$1.025 billion
18Washington Wizards$1 billion
19Orlando Magic$920 million
20Utah Jazz$910 million
21Detroit Pistons$900 million
22Denver Nuggets$890 million
23Atlanta Hawks$885 million
24Indiana Pacers$880 million
25Philadelphia 76ers$800 million
26Memphis Grizzlies$790 million
27Milwaukee Bucks$785 million
28Charlotte Hornets$780 million
29Minnesota Timberwolves$770 million
30New Orleans Pelicans$750 million

The first thing that immediately stands out is the fact 60 percent of the league's franchises are now worth at least $1 billion. That's a sign of great health for the league, which watched it's nine-year, $24 billion television deal with ESPN and Turner Sports kick in this season.

It's no surprise to see the Knicks and Lakers lead the list, as they held the top two spots in the 2016 ranking as well. Their placement illustrates the overall value of an organization takes into account far more than its current state.

New York maintaining the No. 1 distinction will be a welcome sight for executive chairman James Dolan, who's endured a trying week amid the Charles Oakley drama.

Knicks fans have been calling for Dolan to sell the franchise since 2015, when a grassroots effort popped up following an email the owner sent to a disgruntled fan suggesting he cheer for the Brooklyn Nets instead. There's been no sign of any sale, though.

Meanwhile, the Lakers are caught in a similar period of on-court difficulties as the team has struggled to turn the corner in its rebuilding efforts. Bill Oram of the Orange County Register passed along comments from team president Jeanie Buss in December about the team's direction.

"We're like every other team that we will play a season and we will assess that season when it's over," Buss said. "No reason to speculate on any possible changes. It's a waste of time to speculate."

Last week, the team hired legend Magic Johnson with the hope he can get things moving back toward the championship levels the storied franchise is used to.

The lack of on-court success hasn't stopped the Knicks and Lakers from continuing to gain value, though. Of course, their past success and operating in the country's two biggest media markets helps.

That doesn't mean success can't impact the ranking, though. It's possible to make a rapid rise up the list by winning consistently. The Golden State Warriors were No. 9 with an estimated value of $750 million on the 2014 list. Now they third with a $2.6 billion valuation.

So there are a lot of different variables involved, but the Knicks and Lakers have maintained their stronghold at the NBA value mountaintop for at least one more year. Now they just need to figure out how to translate that into more victories as their diehard fanbases grow more restless.