The Los Angeles Lakers are worth a lot. A whole lot. Just how much is bound to shock you. But how much can the Lakers be worth if the franchise goes down the tubes? And could former Laker Derek Fisher be just the coach to keep that from happening?
Anybody that’s paying attention knows the LA Lakers are in dire straits right about now, thanks to a disastrous, injury-filled season that saw the storied franchise posting its worst record to date. Kobe Bryant is promising a turnaround next season, but the Lakers roster is old and not too deep, a troubling fact considering the depth, youth, and athleticism that typifies the NBA’s Western Conference nowadays.
As if the Lakers’ conference standing wasn’t troublesome enough, they’re not even the best team in their city right now. While Kobe spent an early offseason learning the secrets of Apple’s next iPhone, Chris Paul, Blake Griffin, and the LA Clippers grabbed the limelight, making it to the second round of the playoffs and losing in six to the Oklahoma City Thunder.
The Clippers are young and athletic, with their two biggest stars now mainstays in TV ads. That’s part of the reason former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer is trying to buy the franchise for a record $2 billion. That figure, though, begs the question:
If the Clippers are worth $2 billion, what are the more storied NBA franchises like the Los Angeles Lakers worth?
Business Insider took a shot at calculating the value of the rest of the teams in the NBA by doing a simple bit of recalibrating based on the newly established value of the Clippers. Fear not, Laker Nation: the Clippers may have bested you in the regular season record, but your squad is still worth more than two times as much as The Other Team In Los Angeles.
The new value estimations peg the Lakers as the second-most valuable franchise in the NBA. Prior to the Clippers sale, the Lakers had an estimated value of $1.4 billion, but that jumped to $4.7 billion when readjusted to take Ballmer’s Clippers buy into account.
Of course, a high price tag is only really great for team owners, as it really has no impact on which free agents will come your way or how those last-second three-pointers will fall. This is borne out with just a look at the company the Lakers find themselves among in the top five slots. The Knicks, the Lakers, the Bulls, the Celtics, the Nets: all big names in sizable markets, all worth more than $2.5 billion according to the new figures. Not one made it to the Conference Finals. Three of the top five – Knicks, Lakers, and Celtics – missed the playoffs entirely.
Of course, that could be a good sign for the Lakers’ franchise value. The Knicks have been a laughingstock for some time, with a bloated payroll going to a roster that couldn’t make the playoffs in a truly weak Eastern Conference. Yet, they’re still pegged at $4.87 billion for franchise value.
The Lakers, though, will be looking to avoid the Knicks’ situation with a quick turnaround from last season’s debacle. The team still has to decide whether it will trade its No. 7 draft pick in a swing-for-the-fences move, but a more immediate concern is what the Lakers will do to find a coach.
To the delight of many a Laker fan, Mike D’Antoni showed himself the door earlier this year, leaving the Laker head coach position after two years. Laker management has promised a methodical approach to finding D’Antoni’s replacement, but some are speculating that both the Lakers and the Knicks will be competing for the attention of one frontrunner: Derek Fisher. Fish. The Fish That Saved L.A. Mr..4 Seconds.
Now nearly 40, Fisher began his career with the Lakers, who took him with the 24th pick of the 1996 NBA Draft. The former Laker point guard was constantly critiqued for being too slow and too injured, but he won five championships with the squad. Bleacher Report says that the Lakers may be considering approaching Fisher to take up the head coach position. Such a move would likely make Kobe happy, as the Laker superstar and Fisher have a friendship and mutual respect that has lasted nearly two decades.
The big obstacle for the Lakers: the Knicks. Namely, Phil Jackson, the all-time-great coach that led Kobe and Fisher to each of those five rings. The Zen Master is also said to be interested in landing The Fish That Saved L.A., to the point that the NBA fined Jackson for “tampering” by mentioning Fisher while the Thunder were still in the playoffs.
For his part, Fisher isn’t making any commitments regarding a possible coaching gig on either coast. He’s still looking back over an 18-year career and trying to figure out if he wants to go one more round. Odds are, though, that one of two $5 billion franchises would just love to bend the former Laker’s ear if he decides to take off the jersey and put on a suit.
Lead image via Top Buzz.