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LAKERS NOTEBOOK: BOTTOM LINE: NO SHAQ, LESS REVENUE.

Byline: Ross Siler Staff Writer

ORLANDO, Fla. - Formerly measured in wins and losses and draft lottery ping-pong balls, the effect of the Shaquille O'Neal trade on the Lakers' bottom line now has been estimated for the first time.

The Lakers fell out of the top spot in Forbes magazine's annual rankings of NBA franchise values and were estimated to have taken in $14 million less in revenue from the 2004-05 season without O'Neal than the 2003-04 season with the star center.

``The drop in the revenue had to do almost exclusively with the lack of playoff success last year,'' said Kurt Badenhausen, an editor at the magazine who co-authored the rankings with Michael Ozanian.

The Lakers had been the most highly valued NBA franchise the past three seasons by Forbes. The New York Knicks, staring at their fifth consecutive losing season, are estimated by the magazine to be worth a league-high $543 million.

The Lakers, who missed the playoffs last season for the first time since 1994, are second at $529 million, the franchise value having nearly doubled in seven years. The team's revenue was estimated to have declined from $170 million in 2003-04 to $156 million.

--On point: The Lakers should have a chance to pad their defensive stats tonight against an Orlando Magic team averaging just 87.7 points per game. Even with Kobe Bryant scoring 62 points Tuesday, the Lakers continued to make progress with their defense.

They gave up only 61 points through three quarters to Dallas, which shot 37 percent for the game. The Lakers so far have allowed almost eight fewer points per game this season than last.

``The big game that I had offensively kind of overshadowed what we did defensively,'' Bryant said. ``We played an excellent defensive game. We made them uncomfortable. We contested them at the basket, forced them into turnovers. We played extremely well defensively and that's something we can be proud of.''

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- Ross Siler
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Title Annotation:Sports
Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Dec 23, 2005
Words:332
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