Much of the NBA Lockout discussion to date has been stuck on the question of yearly profits and losses. But as SBNation's Tom Ziller points out, even a modest yearly operating loss doesn't make owning an NBA team a bad investment... not when NBA franchises are selling for record numbers.
Jerry Buss has seen the Lakers' value grow $587 million in 21 years. Michael Heisley has seen the Grizzlies' value grow $97 million in 10 years. Dan Gilbert has seen the Cavaliers' value grow $101 million in five years. Mark Cuban of the Mavericks: $166 million in 10 years. Cablevision with the Knicks: $286 million in 13 years. And on and on and on ...
Ziller also points out that the Golden State Warriors just sold for $450 million, the for the same number, and the Sixers are expected to fetch $350 million some time soon, and the NBA paid $300 million to George Shinn to take control of the New Orleans Hornets. Shinn paid $32 million to launch the team in 1987. I'm guessing that's a better return on investment than he would have gotten in the stock market.
Also worth noting: when a team is sold, the seller gets a massive windfall, but the players get nothing. Which is one reason I'm inclined to take the NBPA's side in the "should a team's purchase price count against its yearly profit/loss" question.