NBA this offseason

Big markets and small markets around the NBA landscape are distinguished on the basis of a variety of factors that incorporate much more than just the financial aspect. Media attention, exposure, brand value, illustrious history, etc. dictate which team qualifies as an enticing landing spot for special basketball talents that crave the spotlight.

Basically, it’s a uniform mix of the team’s popularity, television deals, relevance, and media market size, all put together as one. Moreover, the aforementioned metric underlines the fact that all teams do not get the same opportunities.

Apparently, the NBA is rising in the ranks of sports leagues rapidly and along with it comes a flood of attention (attracting a plethora of NBA trade rumors) from all corners of the world. New arenas, basketball’s global outreach, and local media deals meant that the average NBA team is worth $1.9 billion - a step-up of 13% from last year, according to Forbes. Apart from the big market teams we are going to discuss here, teams based in Brooklyn (which hosted the latest NBA Draft), Dallas, Portland all signed major TV deals while Chicago and San Antonio are in line to do the same next season. Clearly, the league’s wealth runs deeper than just the surface.

#3 Chicago

Home to the historic Chicago Bulls, this is the third largest city in the US - population of over 2.5 million people craving entertainment - and houses other major sports organizations like the Blackhawks and the Bears. Famous forever for its six titles under the GOAT Michael Jordan, there is no shortage of national popularity for this team even in this day and age as they clocked a top 5 market value of $965M this year.

Just recently, Bulls signed an exclusive multi-year deal with NBC Sports Chicago ending their longtime relationship with WGN-TV for the oncoming 2019-20 season. This deal helps them further spread the word across the large metro area and beyond.

Carrying just $18.6 million in cap space this year, the NBA trade rumors have been fairly quiet on the Bulls front. However, with their most recent inclusion of young and exciting talent in the form of Coby White - 7th overall pick in the NBA Draft - things are on an upward curve for this legendary franchise.

#2 Los Angeles

The Lakers suffix is almost synonymous with the city of LA. And why not! The franchise gave Hollywood stars like Kareem-Abdul Jabbar, Magic Johnson, Shaquille O’Neal, Kobe Bryant and their latest priced pearl in LeBron James. Following on the lines of the frequent NBA trade rumors including AD-to-LA, the Lakers fans got what they wanted when the front office decided to sacrifice this year’s NBA draft class for this generational talent.

Well, if at all there were any doubts about the popularity of this team, the Lakers brand recorded the highest value in the league at $674M this year, with a total franchise valuation of $3.7 billion - second best in the NBA. Their local cable deal worth over $100 million is the highest in the sport thus far.

The franchise has paired together two of the most dominant players in the game right now, and according to the latest NBA trade rumors, are clearing more and more cap space with every passing moment to bring in a third big name. One can only imagine the ceiling of their market numbers once all the pieces are in place.

#1 New York

Despite being a low-key disaster for almost two decades now, the humongous media attention that this team gets coupled with a huge metro area that roots for them, culminated in a league-best $4 Billion valuations for the Knicks this year. Due to lack of exceptionally successful history, this team doesn’t hold major national appeal but tends to make up for it via the unparalleled spotlight of the Madison Square Garden.

In the backdrop of major trade blunders and NBA Draft busts for a prolonged period of time, this was their fourth straight year of being the most valuable NBA team. Much to the delight of starving NY fans, this year’s NBA Draft got them a promising prospect in RJ Barrett - overall No. 3 pick - who repeatedly expressed the desire to play in the Big Apple. That goes to show that the city of NY never ceases to be that ideal market with ample media exposure for players who are born for it.

Big free agent names like Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant have been attached to the Knicks according to a fresh batch of NBA trade rumors and looking at the way things are shaping out for New York, their darkest hours just might be behind them now.