Forbes: OKC Thunder only NBA team with operating loss last season

OKC Thunder Clayton Bennett (Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images)
OKC Thunder Clayton Bennett (Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images) /

Forbes annual report on the financial state of NBA offers intriguing insights including some specific information about the OKC Thunder.

With news of declining TV viewership and some unparalleled public relation guffaws, the Forbes annual report on the financial state of the NBA was something we’ve eagerly awaited. How would these events impact team financials and would the massive shifts to the OKC Thunder drastically alter their valuation?

To that end, the annual Forbes list was released highlighting the valuations of all 30 NBA teams and shifts within the Association over the last year. Some teams made big gains in a year and the OKC Thunder find themselves on an island in one specific area.

Another irony is one franchise can do whatever they want with apparently no effect on their league-leading valuation position. The Mecca of basketball hasn’t sipped champagne in years or even been a stalwart within their conference but they maintain the highest seat on the financial ladder.

Of course, I’m speaking of the New York Knicks. Consider the turmoil and shocking headlines this team has endured in the past year:

  • Tossed a beloved former star out of the Gardens simply because he doesn’t share your opinion. And do it in the manner you wouldn’t expect even the worst possible patron to be taken out of the building. (Charles Oakley)
  • Brag on-air how free agents are coming to the team. The clear implication being Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving were all but signed. (prior to both joining cross town rival Brooklyn Nets).

"“New York is the mecca of basketball and we hear from people all the time, from players, from representatives about who wants to come,” he said. “…I can tell you from what we’ve heard, we’re going to have a very successful offseason when it comes to free agents.”"

  • Hire a coach who’ll get the best from youngsters then fire him (David Fizdale) for attempting to do precisely what you hired him for.
  • Ignore the fan base clamoring for President of Operations Steve Mills to be fired for years and then decide to fire him days before the trade deadline.

Hey, this is the New York Knicks and none of these things affect the value of the team or perhaps, more importantly, the real estate where Madison Square Gardens is located. Once again the Knicks rank as the most valuable NBA franchise with a valuation of $4.6 billion (B) dollars.

Joining them in the over $4 billion valuation are the Lakers ($4.4 B) and Warriors ($4.3 B).

The Bulls ($3.2 B) and Celtics ($3.1 B) are the teams valued over three billion.

Six teams are valued over two billion including the:

  • Clippers ($2.6 B)
  • Nets ($2.5 B)
  • Rockets ($2.47 B)
  • Mavericks ($2.4 B)
  • Raptors ($2.1 B)
  • 76ers ($2 B).

A further 14 teams fall in the $1.5 billion to $1.95 billion including the OKC Thunder whose valuation is $1.575 billion. Five teams range in the $1.45 billion to the lowest valued team – the Memphis Grizzlies who come in at $1.3 billion.

As per Kurt Badenhausen’s full report on Forbes despite issues with TV viewership and Daryl Morey’s faux pas tweet at season start the NBA is in great shape with an average increase of 14 percent. That’s an impressive mark and better than the NBA major sports league counterparts of the NFL (11 percent) or Major League Baseball (8 percent).

Specific things will affect the values of a franchise such as winning the title or signing big time free agents as was the case for the Raptors and Clippers who both experienced some of the biggest increases in the past year.

As for profits, the OKC Thunder are on an island as the only NBA team that failed to recognize a profit due to that nasty luxury tax.

"A half-dozen teams had profits of at least $100 million while the Oklahoma City Thunder were the lone team to have an operating loss last season ($23 million) because of the $61 million luxury tax bill on their massive payroll."

More from Thunderous Intentions

For the full list of team valuations and the complete Badenhausen report check out the link above. The Forbes report has plenty to dig your teeth into.

For example, the audience of the NBA skews much younger than their counterpart leagues. Another area of intrigue is the rise of technology in terms of how fans view games and what this will mean to the league in future years.

At some point, we’ll inevitably start hearing about more sponsorship and advertising on web based applications and platforms. No doubt the NBA is already holding intense strategy sessions for how teams will recognize benefits from those technology-based platforms.

Ultimately, the OKC Thunder ownership road the storm of retaining superstar talent in a small market and paid the price this past year.

Moving forward it’s unlikely to be something Clay Bennett has to deal with any time soon given the host of draft picks in hand and the associated reduction of max contracts from the roster.

That along with those draft picks should pay dividends for years to come both on the floor as well as for ownership.

Next. Forbes 9 NBA teams on most valuable list, Thunder rank 18th. dark

For those who are interested in the previous status of the OKC Thunder clicking the above blue bar takes you to an article offering details on where the team was valued six months ago.