NBA Free Agency: Los Angeles Listed As NBA City That Would Benefit 4th-Most Economically From Lakers Signing LeBron James
Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports

The reality made most clear by the Los Angeles Lakers trading Jordan Clarkson and Larry Nance Jr. for two expiring contracts and first-round draft pick was that the team wants to sign a superstar, presumed to be LeBron James, as a 2018 free agent.

While the team’s on-court fortunes would surely benefit from such a signing, one recent study showed that the city of Los Angeles would benefit off the court as well.

According to data compiled by FormSwift based off of a Harvard study on the economic impact of James’ free agency destinations, Los Angeles would see the fourth-highest benefit of any NBA city if the Lakers managed to sign LeBron.

And, that the City itself should hypothetically offer him the fourth-highest money of any city in order to come.

FormSwift’s methodology was based on three factors: “The number of new jobs potentially created for LeBron’s chosen city, the local economic impact (including state tax revenue) over a five-year contract and what the city should offer LeBron in its bid to bring him to their team.”

FormSwift came up with these numbers through a combination of calculating how many restaurants were within a one-mile radius of each team’s arena, which they multiplied by .13 to calculate the 13 percent boost in eating establishments that the Harvard study showed James’ presence creates.

Then the team calculated the number of jobs that those new restaurants would create using data from the U.S. Department of Labor’s statistics, while also factoring in annual wage data for those workers in each city and how much tax revenue the city would get from those new workers and restaurants, which allowed them to come up with the totals seen above.

After adding up the benefits of signing James, the FormSwift team “utilized a Washington State Institute for Public Policy study concerning the Cost-Benefit Ratio of government-funded job-placement programs” to calculate how much James’ presence would be worth to each city, since he would, in essence, be creating those jobs.

This methodology is obviously beneficial to big markets and arenas with a bevy of restaurants around them. That is why the New York Knicks far-and-away lead the pack, followed by the Brooklyn Nets and Washington Wizards.


The Lakers and Clippers are tied in the amount James would benefit Los Angeles, likely because FormSwift confirmed their model doesn’t take into account the individual popularity of two teams in a dual-team city, something that could make James benefit the Lakers more.

Moreover, fans of the Clippers or Lakers do have a wide array of dining options in and around the L.A. Live area.

All that said, this is all just in good fun. A city attempting to pay James to come to their metropolis would probably qualify as circumvention of the salary cap and get any team attempting to facilitate such a deal heavily penalized for circumvention.

Meaning, that (among many other reasons), local governments are unlikely to attempt such a move. Still, it’s interesting to see how much James can benefit a team both on and off of the court, and it’s just more reason the Lakers and their fans should hope the team can lure him this offseason.

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