BUSINESS
01/25/2012 02:19 pm ET | Updated Mar 26, 2012

Los Angeles Lakers Surpass New York Knicks To Become Most Valuable NBA Team

Jan 25 (Reuters) - The Los Angeles Lakers have unseated the New York Knicks as the National Basketball Association's (NBA) most valuable team with an estimated worth of $900 million, according to a Forbes report released on Wednesday.

The value of the Lakers, who won NBA titles in 2009 and 2010, soared 40 percent from last year due to a blockbuster 20-year television deal with Time Warner Cable, the report said.

The Lakers, who also boast the top-earning player in 13-time All-Star Kobe Bryant, are comfortably above the second-place Knicks, whose value rose 19 percent to $780 million.

The average NBA team is worth a record $393 million, up 6.5 percent from last year, because of new television deals and the labor agreement reached last December, Forbes said.

Rounding out the top five were the Chicago Bulls at $600 million, the 2010-11 NBA champion Dallas Mavericks at $497 million and the storied Boston Celtics at $482 million.

Despite falling out of the top spot, the Knicks are the most profitable NBA team with an operating income of $75 million, comfortably above the $5.8 million league average.

The report also showed that Bryant, who is in the midst of a three-year contract with the Lakers and has deals with Nike Inc and other companies, is the top-paid NBA player with $53.2 million in total earnings.

He is followed by two-time league most valuable player LeBron James of the Miami Heat, who earned $49 million, $33 million of which came from endorsements.

The 10 most valuable NBA teams:

1. Los Angeles Lakers, $900 million

2. New York Knicks, $780 million

3. Chicago Bulls, $600 million

4. Dallas Mavericks $497 million

5. Boston Celtics, $482 million

6. Miami Heat, $457 million

7. Houston Rockets, $453 million

8. Golden State Warriors, $450 million

9. San Antonio Spurs, $418 million

10. Phoenix Suns, $395 million

(www.forbes.com/nba) (Reporting By Gene Cherry in Salvo North Carolina; Editing by Frank Pingue; To query or comment on this story email sportsfeedback@thomsonreuters.com)

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