The Most And Lea...The NBA's biggest financial winners and losers highlight the value of playing in a major market. The five most profitable teams are from some of the most populated metro areas in the country. The Dallas Mavericks are an exception to the rule: the team ranks among the league's biggest losers despite playing in the fourth-largest metro area.
These teams are the most and least profitable NBA teams over the past five seasons. The top five teams averaged a profit of $37 million over the past five years, and the bottom five lost an average $10 million. The league average during the same period was $8 million in profit. (Getty Images)
The Bulls' average profit dwarfs other NBA teams thanks to the league's best home game attendance in three of the last five years. Chicago, however, was out-earned the last two seasons by the New York Knicks.
Detroit was a top earner several seasons ago, but its operating income has fallen greatly in recent years because of diminishing home game attendance numbers. They are dead last in attendance this season, and last year's operating income of $10 million is barely above the league average. (AP Photo)
The Knicks were losing money as recently as 2007 due to a bloated payroll, but have turned things around in a major way. Acquiring Amar'e Stoudemire and Carmelo Anthony last year helped sell out season tickets for the first time since 2001, and New York was the NBA's most profitable team last season. (Getty Images)
The Rockets saw their operating income fall by 50% in 2010-11, largely because of attendance woes: the team was ranked No. 20 in the league last year and is second-worst this season behind Detroit. (Getty Images)
The defending NBA champions have not made a profit since the 2001-02 season. The biggest reason for their losses is the luxury tax, which forced them to pay an additional $18.9 million last year. (AP Photos)
The Grizzlies lost $25 million last season, the second-biggest loss in the league. High player costs paid off, though, as Memphis went to the postseason for the first time since 2006 and won its first ever playoff game. (AP Photo)
New Jersey hasn't turned a profit since 2001-02, and they join Charlotte and Memphis as the three biggest losers last season. The Nets move to Brooklyn next year, which will help the team generate additional revenue. (Getty Images)