NEW YORK, Jan. 20 (UPI) -- Although they current sit in 10th place in the NBA's Eastern Conference and 17th place league-wide, the New York Knicks are the clear winners of professional basketball -- at least when it comes to net worth, according to a valuation by Forbes magazine.
Forbes attributed the increase in the Knicks' worth to a new cable television deal the team struck with the MSG regional sports network and the most premium seating revenue in the entire league at Madison Square Garden.
The Knicks knocked the Los Angeles Lakers out of the top spot, which displaced New York on last year's list. This year's valuation put the Lakers in second place with $2.7 billion.
In fact, the Knicks' value ranks as the fourth-highest in all of American sports -- trailing only the NFL's Dallas Cowboys ($4B) and New England Patriots ($3.2B) and Major League Baseball's New York Yankees ($3.2B).
In all, 13 NBA franchises are presently worth at least $1 billion, Forbes said. In 2013, just three teams topped $1 billion. The average worth of an NBA franchise is now $1.25 billion.
The New Orleans Pelicans -- the league's newest franchise -- rated as the NBA's least valuable team, at $650 million. The Milwaukee Bucks ($675M), Philadelphia 76ers ($700M), Minnesota Timberwolves ($720M) and Charlotte Hornets ($750M) round out the league's five least-valued teams.