A lot of characters were involved in the melodrama that was last summer's free agency bonanza. Of course, the players were (and still are) put under the microscope. Coaches did (Mike Brown) and almost did (Erik Spoelstra, if even only on SportsCenter) lose their jobs. Even Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert entered the fray with his comic sans tirade. But the most important player was someone who rarely got a mention. But he's the most important guy; the guy who signs the checks for the Miami Heat. That guy, of course, is Micky Arison. And Wednesday, as most days are when you're worth nearly $6 billion and are the wealthiest professional sports owner in North America, was a good day for the man behind the scenes. That's because Forbes released its annual list of the most valuable franchises in the NBA on Wednesday. And, as you could expect, the value of the Heat has gone up a little bit over the past 12 months, thanks in large part (if not wholly) due to the acquisition of LeBron James. Just how important was James in the calculation? Let's read the words from Mike Ozanian:
No player in the 64-year history of the National Basketball Association has come close to having the immediate and profound impact that LeBron James had when he bolted the Cleveland Cavaliers for the Miami Heat this summer. The King’s move accounted for both the biggest gain and drop in team values: the Heat’s worth increased 17%, to $425 million (seventh among the NBA’s 30 teams), and the Cavaliers plummeted 26%, to $355 million (15th).Go to Forbes (because page views are important, naturally) and learn more about the impact on the two franchises, and see where the rest of the top 10 shakes out. But keep this in mind; Micky Arison could buy you if he wanted. He just chooses not.