For the second year in a row, the New York Knicks top Forbes' annual list of most valuable NBA clubs, with teams an average of 25 percent more valuable than in 2013.
Figures announced on the magazine's website showed the Knicks on top at $1.6 billion with the Los Angeles Lakers second on $1.4 billion, the Chicago Bulls third at $1.1 billion and the Boston Celtics fourth at $920 million.
Just 10 days ahead of the February 1 retirement of NBA commissioner David Stern after 30 years in the post, the NBA has grown from a league dominated by superstars Magic Johnson and Larry Bird to a global business only beginning to tap revenue streams in India and China.
Where playoff games were televised on a delayed basis in the early days of Stern's era, they are now seen live in more than 215 nations.
Forbes estimated the average NBA team is now worth $687 million, with profits doubling last year to a record $23.7 million average per club, and league revenue for last year at $4.6 billion.
The Knicks made an NBA-record $96 million profit last season, aided by extra income from a renovation of their home arena, Madison Square Garden, according to the magazine.
Despite the NBA's highest payroll, the Lakers made a $66 million profit, Forbes said, with the Bulls third thanks to four years atop the NBA home attendance list and relatively low salary costs. The Bulls profit of $52 million ranked fourth in the league.
Kobe Bryant of the Lakers was the NBA's highest-paid player after signing a two-year contract extension worth $48.5 million last November, boosting his total income to $64.5 million.