NEW YORK • They may have been buffeted by crises on and off the court, but the New York Knicks remain the most valuable franchise in the National Basketball Association (NBA), Forbes reported on Wednesday.
The Knicks are languishing in the bottom half of the Eastern Conference after a 23-34 start to the season, their latest defeat being a 105-116 loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder on Wednesday.
Former Knicks star Charles Oakley was last week banned from attending home games by team owners following his highly publicised altercation with security during a Knicks-Los Angeles Clippers game.
The ban, however, has since been lifted.
New York's poor form and off-court soap operas have done nothing to diminish their money-spinning value, according to Forbes.
The magazine said in its annual survey of NBA team valuations that the Knicks were now worth an estimated US$3.3 billion (S$4.68 billion), a 10 per cent bump on last year.
FORBES' TOP FIVE 1 NEW YORK KNICKS:
US$3.3 BILLION (S$4.7 BILLION)
Sport: US$266 million
Market: US$1.68 billion
Arena: US$849 million
Brand: US$505 million
2 LOS ANGELES LAKERS: US$3B
Sport: US$192 million
Market: US$1.668 billion
Arena: US$545 million
Brand: US$595 million
3 GOLDEN STATE WARRIORS: US$2.6B
Sport: US$412 million
Market: US$1.084 billion
Arena: US$681 million
Brand: US$423 million
4 CHICAGO BULLS: US$2.5B
Sport: US$552 million
Market: US$983 million
Arena: US$640 million
Brand: US$325 million
5 BOSTON CELTICS: US$2.2B
Sport: US$674 million
Market: US$883 million
Arena: US$341 million
Brand: US$302 million
The Knicks posted an NBA-record operating profit of US$141 million last year, despite a losing 32-50 season record and missing the playoffs.
Another iconic franchise with a dismal record - the Los Angeles Lakers (19-39) - were ranked second with a value of US$3 billion.
The Lakers, who suffered the worst season in their history in 2015-2016 with a 17-65 campaign, are also struggling this year.
The top five was rounded out by the Golden State Warriors, Chicago Bulls and Boston Celtics.
The Warriors' value was put at US$2.6 billion, a 37 per cent increase from last year, a spike attributed to surging ticket and sponsorship revenues. The franchise has also broken ground on a state-of-the-art arena due to open in 2019. But while the Warriors' success on court has seen them march up the rankings, the NBA champions Cleveland Cavaliers were only 11th overall out of 30 teams.
The Cavs were one of three teams, along with the Clippers and the Thunder, to post a loss last season.
Cleveland's US$40 million loss - attributed to payroll excesses - was the fifth biggest in the history of the NBA.