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Golden State Warriors are now NBA’s most-valuable franchise

Vincent Frank

The Golden State Warriors are coming off their fourth NBA title in eight years. Just when it seemed that this dynasty was about to end after a two-year hiatus, Stephen Curry and Co. ran roughshod through the Western Conference Playoffs en route to a meeting with the Boston Celtics in the NBA Finals. They proceeded to win that series in six games, hoisting the Larry O’Brien Trophy in the process.

For those who had followed the Warriors prior to Joe Lacob and Peter Guber purchasing them from then-embattled owner Chris Cohan in 2010, this has been a shocking run. Back then, Golden State was the laughingstock of the NBA.

Off the court, things continue to go exceedingly well for Lacob and Guber. That’s evidenced in Forbes’ annual rankings of NBA franchise value. For the first time ever, a team not named the Los Angeles Lakers and New York Knicks occupies the top spot.

Forbes values the Warriors at a whopping $7 billion, a 25% increase from last year’s iteration. The New York Knicks come in second at $6.1 billion with the Lakers No. 3 at $5.9 billion.

Related: Golden State Warriors standing in Sportsnaut’s NBA power rankings

Golden State Warriors franchise value put into perspective

golden state warriors team value
Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports

When Lacob and Guber purchased Golden State back in 2010, the selling price was a mere $410 million. Yes, you read that right. That’s just a ridiculous return in investment. To put this into perspective, the Warriors’ combined payroll for next season is expected to top $480 million when taking into account the luxury tax.

There’s a lot of factors that go into the Warriors being valued so high. Obviously, the on-court success has played a role here. Existing in one of North America’s largest media market doesn’t hurt, either.

With that said, the decision to move from Oakland to a waterfront arena in San Francisco has also played a major role here. The privately-funded Chase Center cost $1.4 billion to erect. For comparison’s sake, the Golden State Warriors were worth $3.9 billion immediately ahead of that venue opening up back in 2019.

Related: Golden State Warriors’ Stephen Curry and the NBA’s highest-paid players

NBA team values and the Golden State Warriors

NBA: Los Angeles Lakers at Golden State Warriors
Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Here’s a breakdown of the franchises ranked within the top-10 of the Association in team values per the Forbes report.

  1. Golden State Warriors: $7 billion
  2. New York Knicks: $6.1 billion
  3. Los Angeles Lakers: $5.9 billion
  4. Chicago Bulls: $4.1 billion
  5. Boston Celtics: $4 billion
  6. Los Angeles Clippers: $3.9 billion
  7. Brooklyn Nets: $3.5 billion
  8. Dallas Mavericks: $3.3 billion
  9. Houston Rockets: $3.2 billion
  10. Philadelphia 76ers: $3.15 billion

Only five teams are worth $4 billion or more. The league average is $2.86 billion with the likes of the New Orleans Pelicans ($1.6 billion), Memphis Grizzlies ($1.65 billion) and Minnesota Timberwolves ($1.67 billion) holding others back.

There’s also a pretty big backdrop to this. Embattled Phoenix Suns owner Robert Sarver has his organization on the market. The team is said to be worth $2.7 billion, a 50% increase from last year. That could be a boon for Mr. Sarver.