By Mike Bresnahan
January 21, 2015

The Lakers were finally winners again.

They were declared the NBA’s most valuable franchise, worth $2.6 billion, according to Forbes’ annual rankings released Wednesday.

The franchise jumped a whopping 93% from its previous value, strengthened by a new national TV deal that boosted all teams. The Lakers also have a strong local TV deal with Time Warner Cable worth $5 billion over 25 years.

The Lakers (12-31) currently have the NBA’s fourth-worst record, but “the brand is still very popular,” Coach Byron Scott said Wednesday before speaking of late owner Jerry Buss.

“Dr. Buss did an unbelievable job of getting this brand to where it is today and that’s why it’s still as popular as it is. And I think the market also helps. You’re in Los Angeles, so it’s one of the best markets in the world.”

The new $24-billion national TV deal increased the worth of the average NBA franchise to $1.1 billion, a 74% jump from last year, according to Forbes.

The New York Knicks were Forbes’ second-most-valuable NBA franchise, coming in at $2.5 billion. The Clippers were valued at $1.6 billion, fifth in the league, but less than the $2 billion Steve Ballmer paid for them last year.

To read entire story, click here.