source: Reed Saxon / Associated Press; Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times
Last week Dwight Howard did the impossible: make a decision. The Lakers’ recent acquisition of the NBA’s top center has generated a lot more buzz than ticket revenue for the franchise. Interestingly enough, Lakers home game ticket prices were down 13 percent from last season, even after the addition of Steve Nash. In fact, after the Howard deal the average price for all home game tickets rose from $242 to $247, and only 26 home games have seen an increase ranging from $1-$38 more per ticket. I guess Lakers fans are still skeptical of this change up until they seem some key wins, championships, or free tacos (only when the Lakers win at home and keep the opposing teams from scoring over 100 points).
The NBA as a whole only saw a four percent increase in ticket prices from last season. This is due to the fact that last season’s condensed 66-game regular season created a greater demand. Now that the season returned to an 82-game schedule, more games mean less key matchups. Who really wants to see the Lakers go up against the Golden State Warriors four times, even with the promise of free tacos?
Below are the top five home game increases after the Howard deal with attached links to purchase, and a free taco prediction (It’s almost lunch, and I’m starving):
source: Vernon Bryant / Dallas Morning News
The 2011 NBA champs swept the Lakers two seasons ago in the playoffs. Last season both teams were destroyed in the playoffs by the up and coming Oklahoma City Thunder, which led to some much needed self-reflection and team rebuilding. Mavericks Owner Mark Cuban also courted Howard. Dallas lost Jason Kidd and Jason Terry, but added Elton Brand and Chris Kaman to their solid lineup that already includes Shawn Marion, Vince Carter, and Dirk Nowitzki. This is quickly becoming one of the Western Conference’s top rivalries.
Chance of free tacos: Unlikely if Brand, Carter, and Nowitzki are all at 100 percent.
source: Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times
A few seasons ago, the Clippers were considered L.A.’s “other team,” but after the Clippers swooped in on point guard Chris Paul, the Battle of Los Angeles has become one of sports’ fastest growing local rivalries. Former Lakers’ sixth man Lamar Odom felt betrayed by his former team when they sent him to Dallas by surprise before the start of last season. Odom is back in L.A. and will probably look for vengeance against his former team. The Clippers also added veteran Grant Hill to help support young stars Paul and Blake Griffin.
Chance of free tacos: Maybe, Clippers’ center DeAndre Jordan is a beast in defense.
source: Al Diaz / Miami Herald
This is the most expensive Lakers home game ticket this upcoming season. It’s no surprise tickets are so pricey to see Kobe Bryant, Howard, and Nash take on defending NBA Champs LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh. This game might also be a preview to the long-awaited Lakers-Heat NBA Finals, which seems all the more likely this upcoming season.
Chance of free tacos: Might as well speed to the nearest taco truck after the game.
source: Michael Paulsen / Houston Chronicle
The Houston Rockets lured last season’s sensation Jeremy Lin from New York on a four-year, $25 million contract. The Rockets also picked up Bulls’ center Omer Asik, and drafted 2011 NCAA champ Jeremy Lamb and Big-12 star Royce White. After a dismal performance last season, the Rockets are looking to make their return to the postseason. What will Kobe, Howard, and Nash have to say when Linsanity comes to the Staples Center?
Chance of free tacos: Very likely, the Rockets’ latest acquisitions will still need to adjust at this point in the season.
source: Brynn Anderson / Associated Press
The 76ers were one of the four teams involved in the Howard deal. The 76ers sent recent gold medallist Andre Iguodala to Denver, but received Jason Richardson from Orlando and All-Star center Andrew Bynum from the Lakers. The former Lakers’ center really shined last season after an early career marred by injuries. Bynum for Howard was a great deal for the Lakers because Bynum lacked the energy and intensity Howard shows, but that might change when Bynum returns to L.A. on New Year’s Day.
Chance of free tacos: Somewhat likely, but Bynum is only rising in experience and might look to spoil L.A. New Year’s Eve party goers’ hangover meal.