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Top 5 Cheapest NBA Teams

Publish Date: 27.02.2022
Fact checked by: Mike Goodpaster

The NBA, being one of the largest sports leagues on Earth, is a big money organization. They pull in billions of dollars each season, which is largely in part to the different teams that make up the league. However, as with any group, some teams are much better off than others.

This guide will take a look at the cheapest or lowest value teams in today’s NBA. Not just how much they are worth compared to the rest of the league, but why their value hasn’t quite measured up as of late.

How are Teams Valued?

Though all NBA teams are incredibly wealthy, there is a large spread between the richest and cheapest teams. That’s because all teams are based on a special scale that uses two different factors to calculate their overall worth: market and attendance.

Put simply, the more people who attend games over the course of a season, the more highly that team is valued. Market, on the other hand, brings in external factors such as TV deals or television rights. If a team can sell more ad space, or if their ad space is worth more, their worth goes up.

Read More: How Much Does it Cost to Buy an NBA Team?

The Cheapest Team

Now that you understand how teams get valued, it’s easy to look at (and understand) the cheapest team on the market. It’s close, but no organization is worth less than the Memphis Grizzlies. Valued at $1.3 billion, they come in as the cheapest team by roughly $100 million.

Not only that, but they don’t show a lot of signs of growing. Despite their recent success and playoff push with upcoming star Ja Morant, the Grizzlies have had a 0 percent change in revenue over the past year under owner Robert Pera.

They have also faced other issues generating income under Pera, pulling in roughly $22 million each season.

Video: Ja Morant's top plays so far this season 🍿| NBA Today

Ja Morant’s top plays so far this season 🍿| NBA Today

Why Are the Grizzlies So Cheap?

The Grizzlies are an odd case because, often, teams with low value tend to not do well on the court. They typically lack the pizazz, free agent power, or spending budget to bring in stars, which in turn causes them to stay at the bottom of the league.

However, the Grizzlies have an incredibly fun team with a ton of playoff talent. They have made a push over the last two years and show no signs of slowing down. Even so, they have had trouble increasing their value.

That is because, for one reason or another, they have not been able to push attendance up. As a result, their operating income has suffered. If they can fix either of those, which will likely come with a deep playoff push, they could turn it around.

Who Comes After the Grizzlies?

While the Grizzlies sit at the bottom of the barrel, there are a few other teams right there with them. That includes the New Orleans Pelicans, Minnesota Timberwolves, Detroit Pistons, and the Orlando Magic.

Those teams are valued at $1.35 billion, $1.4 billion, $1.45 billion, and $1.46 billion respectively. While they are in the same ballpark as the Grizzlies when it comes to value, their on-court performances are a completely different story.

Each of those four teams does not have the same success or star power as Memphis, which has undoubtedly hurt their brand. They simply cannot put people in their seats night after night, which has a negative effect on their overall wealth each and every year.

Even the Pelicans, who have big stars like Zion Williamson and Brandon Ingram, have had too many injuries to compete.

The Richest of the Rich

Knowing the cheapest NBA teams gives context into the league, but it does little good without seeing the other end of the spectrum. While the lowest value teams all sit around $1.3 billion, the richest all come in at $5.5 billion or more.

The New York Knicks are the most valuable NBA team at $5.8 billion. They are then followed by the Golden State Warriors ($5.6 billion) and Los Angeles Lakers ($5.5 billion).

While the Knicks have not seen success as of late, they have a storied history in one of the biggest sports cities on Earth. The Lakers and Warriors are two of the most exciting teams in the league, and they have a ton of star power.

Looking at those factors, it’s clear to see why they sit at the top.

Why Even The Cheapest NBA Teams Can Go Far

The NBA, from top to bottom, is incredibly successful. Even the lowest teams are worth well over a billion dollars, and that figure will only increase over time. The league is popular, and it only grows in popularity both internally and domestically each and every year.

Even so, there’s little doubt that the Grizzlies want to be better moving forward. As shown, winning helps bring in fans, which then helps bring in more money. With their recent success, it’s likely that will soon boost their yearly income.

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