Programming note: Warriors-Kings coverage starts tonight at 6:30pm with Warriors Pregame Live on CSN Bay Area, and streaming live right here.
We all remember that day that Joe Lacob and Peter Guber (and Vivek Ranadive, though we’ll keep that quiet for reasons of peace and quiet) and a bunch of smaller investors decided to scandalously and ignorantly overpay ($450 million) for the Golden State Warriors. Man, did Chris Cohan ever get over on those rubes.
And today? Hah! Not even worth six times what they paid for it. Hell, they only made $74 million last year, meaning that they’ve barely scraped together $284 million in post-expenses income since Joey, Petey and The Gang bought in.
In other words, Stephen Curry, who has been here since the start of it all, is surely the most underpaid player in all sport. And his salary and endorsement money ranged around $44 million last year alone, so between him and his wife Ayesha’s cooking empire, he is in little danger of entering Top Ramen World.
So we’ll just say this as an aside: If Joe Lacob really wants to be the best owner in the world, he could promote himself to Santa Claus, Junior Grade, double every non-player’s salary and not feel a fly’s bone-mass worth of bother. After all, sharing is caring, and not sharing can make you the New York Knicks in no time.
Although since the Knicks are inexplicably still the highest-rated investment in the NBA despite the continued existence of Jimmy The Thumb Dolan, that may not be the best fiscal example.
Now these are Forbes valuations of which we speak, which of course all sports teams vehemently dispute because they are rough guesstimates made by outsiders based on not having the real set of books before them for all 122 North American pro franchises. Still, you may rest easily tonight knowing that (a) no team has sold for less than its peak Forbes valuation in quite some time and (b) the profits and revenue and ancillary hoohah are probably much higher anyway because of side deals that don’t get put in the accessible paperwork.
So when the Warriors are worth $2.6 billion, the fellas can probably sell it easily to the right crazed billionaire for $4B, meaning that they will have nearly tenfolded their money since Cohan hosed them so viciously back in the day.
Now they’re clearly not selling, for the obvious reason that money raining from the sky is still the best investment out there, and as long as Kevin Durant and Stephen Curry and Draymond Green and Klay Thompson and Steve Kerr and Tim Roye stay together and productive, the gravy train can roll forever.
Forever, of course, being three years, which in these volatile (read: crackpots and morons are in charge now, so strap in for hard times ahead) times is about as far as anyone in his or her right mind wants to guess.
Still, playing with free money is what allows the Warriors not to worry about any loyalty issues connected with the 2019 move from Oakland to San Francisco. Even if their total attendance in the first year is zero (which would mean that not only their 19,596 nightly attendance but their vaunted 37,000-strong season ticket waiting list has evaporated), they’ll almost surely have made back their original investment in those nine years, and everything after that is pure unadulterated theirs. Even if they sell the franchise for zero dollars, they will have made money on the original investment.
And to think, without Curry figuring out how to make his ankles stronger, most of this would not have been possible.
But he did it, making all other things not only possible but massively lucrative for all involved. He doesn’t need a separate statue outside the new building (he’ll get that anyway), but credit where it is due.
Plus, there is one other benefit to all this Scrooge McDuck money-bin cash. Somewhere, Chris Cohan may be thinking that the guys upon whom he got over seven years ago are actually the guys who got over on him. Payback is very bitchy that way.