It pays to play basketball in Miami — although it’s better for the players, relatively speaking, than for the team.
Despite its back-to-back NBA championships and high-profile roster, the Miami Heat is only the seventh-most valuable U.S. professional basketball team, according to rankings released by Forbes magazine. Star LeBron James outdoes his team, ranking as the No. 2 most highly paid NBA star, behind Kobe Bryant. The Heat’s Dwyane Wade came in fifth.
The Heat, owned by Micky Arison, was valued at $770 million, up 23 percent from 2013. Ahead of it were:
The New York Knicks, valued at $1.4 billion, up 27 percent
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Los Angeles Lakers, $1.35 billion, up 35 percent
Chicago Bulls, $1 billion, up 25 percent
Boston Celtics, $875 million, up 20 percent
Brooklyn Nets, $780 million, up 47 percent
Houston Rockets, $775 million, up 36 percent
Rounding out the Top 10 were Mark Cuban’s Dallas Mavericks, $765 million, up 12 percent; Golden State Warriors, $750 million, up 35 percent; and San Antonio Spurs, $660 million, up 25 precent.
In the athlete sweepstakes, James’ $61.1 million income this year will come primarily from endorsements, with only $19.1 million in salary.
Together, the 10 highest-paid NBA players will rack up $358 million this year, with $149 million of that coming from sponsors.
According to Forbes, those athletes are:
Kobe Bryant of the Los Angeles Lakers, $64.5 million ($34 million in endorsements)
LeBron James of the Miami Heat, $61.1 million, ($42 million in endorsements)
Derrick Rose of the Chicago Bulls, $38.6 million ($21 million in endorsements)
Kevin Durant of the Oklahoma City Thunder, $31.8 million ($14 million in endorsements)
Dwyane Wade of the Miami Heat, $30.7 million ($12 million in endorsements)
Carmelo Anthony of the New York Knicks, $30.4 million ($9 million in endorsements)
Amare Stoudemire of the New York Knicks, $28.2 million ($6.5 million in endorsements)
Dwight Howard of the Houston Rockets, $26.5 million ($6 million in endorsements)
Dirk Nowitzki of the Dallas Mavericks, $23.2 million ($500,000 in endorsements)
Chris Paul of the Los Angeles Clippers, $22.7 million ($4 million in endorsements)