NBA.com interviews Kevin Murphy (he's an advisor to the players in their negotiations with NBA owners):
Kevin Murphy on the NBA Negotiations, The Sports Economist: ... NBA.com: The owners will say there’s been a franchise bubble not unlike the housing bubble. A number of them bought high and don’t think they’ll see the equity growth.
KM: The fact is, guys have not done well over the last few years as asset prices generally have gone down. I don’t doubt that. But to say that you lost money in the worst asset crash in memory — and franchises haven’t gone down nearly as much as many assets have gone down — that’s not telling you you need concessions going forward.
If you go back before the last 3-5 years, these guys did incredibly well. Their franchises weren’t going up by 4 or 5 percent, they were going up by 8 or 9 percent a year. They were making money hand over fist. Should [the players] get credit for that? Should we get that money back? Now those are different people in some cases. They need to go get their money from the guys they bought the franchises from. That’s the guy who has all your money. Not us.
But who bought anything in ’07 that they’re happy with the price they paid? If you bought a house in ’07, if you bought stocks in ’07, if you bought bonds in ’07 — I don’t care what you bought, you’re not happy with the price you paid. When you buy at the top, you don’t make your money. That’s not unique to the NBA, that’s everywhere in life. But by and large, NBA franchise ownership has been a good investment. You can’t base long-run projections on how you did in the biggest financial downturn of the last 50 years. On that basis, there are no good investments out there. But we know that’s not true.