L.A. Lakers era ends in sweep

L.A. Lakers Pictures, Images and Photos
The NBA’s Los Angeles Lakers have been dominant for much of the last decade. In that time they have consistently been at or near the top of the league’s most valuable teams. Only a few months ago Forbes ranked the Lakers as the 2nd most valuable team for 2011 with a value of $634 millionĀ (New York Knicks passed them just them just this year). However, yesterday the Lakers were swept out of the playoffs in the second round by the Dallas Mavericks. It is also very likely that head coach Phil Jackson, the best coach in sports history will retire and that will mark the end of the recent Lakers dominance.

I cannot see how this will not affect the Lakers team value. The 3rd ranked team in the NBA for 2011 is the Chicago Bulls which will in all likelihood see their value rise next year given their success this season. However, since they are currently valued over $100 million less than the Lakers, I’m not sure they will surpass them. The Lakers still have a very strong brand with many fans all over the world, not to mention the best current basketball player, Kobe Bryant. They will surely need to make large roster moves to try and be much better next year. I don’t see them being a terrible team next year but, it is likely that their time as serious championship contenders is over.

This is not necessarily a bad thing for the NBA in general. Although it is good for the league to have a massive market like Los Angeles have a contending team, the balance of power may be more spread out which will be good for all the teams and the league. The Western Conference will now be much more competitive with many teams holding a legitimate shot at reaching the NBA Finals. This can translate into higher attendance in many of those cities which will help those teams’ bottom lines.

The NBA has a summer of negotiations ahead with the players union in order to avoid a lockout. Due to this fact, we do not know for certain if the next NBA season will start on time. The one thing we do know with more certainty is that when the season does eventually begin, the L.A. Lakers will not be the dominant franchise it has been for much of the last decade.