Pacers And Celtics Secure NBA Conference Finals Berth For These Billionaire Owners

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The Indiana Pacers came back from a 3-2 series deficit to defeat the New York Knicks Sunday afternoon, sending billionaire Herb Simon to the Eastern Conference Finals for the first time in a decade, where the Pacers will compete against another billionaire’s team.

The Pacers—the NBA’s 27th most valuable team, at $2.9 billion, according to Forbes’ estimates—defeated the Knicks 130-109 in game seven of the Conference Semifinals, led by the trio of guard Tyrese Haliburton, forward Pascal Siakam and forward Aaron Nesmith.

Knicks star Jalen Brunson left the game in the second half with a fractured hand, after posting 17 points and nine assists.

With the win, the Pacers move on to play the Celtics, the fourth most valuable team in the league ($4.7 billion), after Boston secured its third-straight Eastern Conference Finals appearance with a gentleman’s sweep over the injury-plagued Cleveland Cavaliers on Wednesday, taking the series four games to one.

The Celtics are owned by a group of four executives, including billionaire Irving Grousbeck (who’s worth $1.8 billion along with his family) and his son Wycliffe—generating roughly $443 million in revenue as of October 2023, with an operating income of $88 million.

Meanwhile, Forbes estimates Pacers owner Herb Simon’s net worth at roughly $4.8 billion, making the Simon Property Group founder the 670th richest person in the world, and the Pacers brought in about $263 million in revenue and $68 million in operating income.

The Knicks, the NBA’s second most valuable team, at $6.6 billion, are under control of Madison Square Garden Sports, a publicly traded company controlled by James Dolan that’s also behind the NHL’s New York Rangers.

Dolan’s father, billionaire Charles Dolan, and his family are worth $5.2 billion, Forbes estimates, and the Knicks’ operating income as of October was $169 million, while their revenue stood at $504 million.

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The Pacers are scheduled to start a seven-game series against the Celtics in Boston Tuesday night, starting a series pitting the Eastern Conference’s two best regular season teams against each other. The Western Conference Finals come down to the Dallas Mavericks and the winner of the Conference Semifinals series between the Minnesota Timberwolves and Denver Nuggets. Game seven in that series is scheduled for Sunday.

Despite a long-awaited playoff run for the Timberwolves, the Minnesota team is locked in a heated ownership dispute between billionaire owner Glen Taylor and two well-known prospective buyers: former MLB MVP Alex Rodriguez and e-commerce mogul Marc Lore. That dispute stems from the timing of a $1.5 billion agreement to purchase the team, with a March deadline that Taylor argues the duo failed to hit. Rodriguez and Lore have said otherwise, and claim they are waiting on the NBA to approve the transaction.

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