The Brooklyn Nets are the highest-paid NBA team, the third highest-paid professional sports team in the U.S., and the eleventh-highest paid in the world, according to a survey compiled and published today by Sporting Intelligence and ESPN the Magazine.
The Nets follow a gamut of Europe’s most prominent and historically winning soccer franchises in the report, with the likes of Barcelona FC, Real Madrid and Manchester United making the mark just before the Yankees. This means the Nets are the NBA’s highest paid team–the average player’s salary is just under $6 million annually.
Unlike with the Nets, the gratuitous cash-flow thrown at athletes at other top sports teams ensures the winning of big games and the signing of promising players. Every top ten team listed in the report, with the exception of maybe the Los Angeles Dodgers, has won trophies or been at the apex of their respective leagues in recent years.
The Nets, while still in their early stages, haven’t broken out of the Eastern Conference Semi-Finals since their Brooklyn tenure began in 2012. The team has signed players like Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce, who managed to transform the Celtics into a title-winner in 2008, but who were essentially too old and embattled (and expensive) to carry a team like they used to.
But we should give the Nets time. Everything about the team is in its nascent stages. They’ve gambled on big names–like having Jason Kidd as their head coach. But they’ve also mastered a really successful brand that’s seen their merchandise sell among the NBA’s most coveted swag up until last month.
As the Nets continue to grow sequentially with Brooklyn’s worldwide recognition, it’ll be interesting to see whether or not their enormous budget will eventually yield notable accomplishments on the court. We’re hoping for the best, because lord knows it’s possible to run great franchises into the ground.