The Los Angeles Lakers are in the midst of another lost season. The team currently stands at 9-34, on pace to set a new low for worst record in franchise history for the third consecutive year. The Lakers have the worst defensive rating in the NBA, giving up 107.7 points per 100 possessions. Their offense isn't much better, ranking second worst in the league at 96.9, a combination leaving the purple and gold with second worst net rating, being outscored by an average of 10.8 points per 100 possessions.
These struggles on the court have not led to a drop in value off of it, however. Forbes released their annual rankings of NBA franchise values on Wednesday, and the Lakers rank second among all NBA teams with a reported value of $2.7 billion. Ranking ahead of them is their fellow big market juggernaut, the New York Knicks ($3 billion) and they rank just ahead of the Chicago Bulls ($2.3 billion).
Business is booming for the Lakers, despite how poor the team is in 2016. The Lakers are still in the midst of a 20-year local TV deal with Time Warner Cable Sportsnet paying them a reported $3 billion. The team is currently in the midst of their worst local ratings since coming to Los Angeles, according to Ben Bolch of the L.A. Times, but still draw more viewers than the Clippers in the local market.
Even amidst declining TV viewership, Kobe Bryant's farewell tour is a large draw in both home and road arenas. Bryant's number 24 jersey is the third best-selling the league according to rankings released by the NBA, behind only LeBron James and Stephen Curry. The Lakers as a franchise have the fourth best selling merchandise in the NBA as a team, and they and the New York Knicks are the only two teams in the top ten in that category that are not currently projected to make the playoffs.
There are a ton of Lakers fans worldwide, and that group has continued to stay dedicated despite another down year for the purple and gold. How long that will continue is something to watch, but for now the predictions of long-term doom and gloom for the team appear unfounded for now.
All stats per NBA.com. You can follow this author on Twitter at @hmfaigen