Bulls

Bulls crack the top 20 of Forbes' most valuable sports franchises

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USA TODAY

Bulls crack the top 20 of Forbes' most valuable sports franchises

The Bulls' franchise is heading in the right direction on the court, and it's doing pretty great off it, too.

Forbes released its annual ranking of the top 50 most valuable sports franchises, and the Bulls are back in the top 20 with a valuation of $2.9 billion.

The Bulls are up from 23rd a year ago, when they were valued at $2.6 billion. They were 22nd in 2017 with a $2.5 billion valuation, and 18th in 2016 with a $2.3 billion valuation.

The Bulls were one of nine NBA franchises in the top 50. That number was one more than last year.

Here's a list of all nine NBA teams that made the cut:

1. New York Knicks ($4 billion)
2. Los Angeles Lakers ($3.7 billion)
3. Golden State Warriors ($3.5 billion)
4. Chicago Bulls ($2.9 billion)
5. Boston Celtics ($2.8 billion)
6. Brooklyn Nets ($2.35 billion)
7. Houston Rockets ($2.3 billion)
8. Dallas Mavericks ($2.25 billion)
9. Los Angeles Clippers ($2.2 billion)

As Forbes noted in the piece, "NBA teams have made the most dramatic moves this decade." Just seven years ago, the Lakers were valued at $900 million and were one of just two NBA teams (the Knicks were the other) in the top 50.

Among Chicago teams, the Bulls ranked second behind the Cubs ($3.1 billion) and tied with the Bears ($2.9 billion). Neither the Blackhawks nor the White Sox made the list.

Bulls will host Giannis Antetokounmpo, Zion Williamson as part of five-game preseason schedule

Bulls will host Giannis Antetokounmpo, Zion Williamson as part of five-game preseason schedule

The Bulls announced their 2019 preseason schedule on Tuesday, and they'll begin their five-game slate by hosting two of the most exciting players in the game.

They'll kick off their campaign on Monday, Oct. 7 with a matchup against reigning MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Milwaukee Bucks. Milwaukee was the No. 1 seed in the East last year and signed Robin Lopez in the offseason.

Two days later, No. 1 overall pick Zion Williamson comes to the United Center as the Bulls host the New Orleans Pelicans.

The Bulls then hit the road with contests against the Indiana Pacers (Oct. 11) and the Toronto Raptors (Oct. 13). They close their preseason slate at home against Trae Young and the Atlanta Hawks on Oct. 17.

All five preseason games will air live on NBC Sports Chicago and the NBC Sports Chicago MyTeams app.