THE LAKERS RETURN $4.6 MILLION intended for small business

A lot of teams and GM’s have a strong distaste for the Lakers due to their “unearned” advantages, most of them derived from the fact they are in Los Angeles. Don’t draft particularly well, have significant front office instability with Magic and Pelinka, and still get LeBron and AD? Drives other GM’s crazy. 

One of the most significant advantages the Lakers have is money. Their local TV deal and brand recognition make them the most profitable NBA team (or one of the most profitable ones.) As Brian Windhorst shared, he got his hands on the full NBA financial reports for the’ 16/’17 NBA season. According to those reports, the Lakers made $115 million that season. To remind you, the ‘16/’17 Lakers finished the season with a 26 – 56 record and didn’t have a single star on the roster. The following season LeBron decided to join the team, improving their record and surely their balance sheet. 

You’d think that that would mean the Lakers are at the top of spending on team facilities etc. Actually, Lakers are known to have one of the smallest front offices (analytics, scouting, sports science) and don’t pay top dollar to their employees. In a way, it makes sense. They don’t need to pay top dollar – you get to work in LA. So you have the most profitable team that doesn’t spend a lot where there is no salary cap; surely, the Buss family and partners are doing fine. 

“The NBA’s marquee franchise applied for and received a $4.6 million loan from the Small Business Administration Paycheck Protection Program during the first round of funding earlier this month.”

LA Lakers, via ESPN

The Lakers joined Shake Shack and AutoNation on the shameful list of companies valued at billions who applied and got money intended to go to struggling small businesses, only to return it after public pressure. Alongside the Buss family, the Lakers part-owners include three billionaire minority partners — Philip Anschutz, Patrick Soon-Shiong, and Ed Roski Jr.

According to the Lakers, “we found out the funds from the program had been depleted, we repaid the loan so that financial support would be directed to those most in need. The Lakers remain completely committed to supporting both our employees and our community.

The biggest question here is how is it possible for such business entities to qualify for this program, but that’s a discussion to be had on different news outlets. We can only conclude the parameters need some fine-tuning. When it comes to their commitment to supporting their community, you’d think not using loopholes would be an excellent way to start.