Five ways NBA lockout affects Lakers
The summer of 2011: When and offseason truly becomes and off season
In years past when friends would ask me what I did in the offseason with my job, I explained that there really wasn't an offseason at all.
First there's the NBA draft, I explained, followed by offseason movement through free agency and trades. Then there's the summer league in Las Vegas and sometimes smaller summer leagues in Orlando and Salt Lake City, Utah, too. Don't forget USA Basketball minicamps in Vegas every summer for the past five years. Plus there are international competitions like EuroBasket, FIBA Americas, the FIBA World Championship and the Olympics to pay attention to. And by the time those end it's just about time for training camp to start, which might bring the team I'm covering halfway across the globe if it's selected to be a part of the NBA's Europe Live exhibition schedule.
Well, this summer, there truly will be an offseason.
No summer league. No trades. No free-agent signings. Nothing. It's such a bleak NBA world right now that NBA.com, the league's official website, was redesigned on Thursday night to basically look like a newsletter. All player names, videos and photos were scrubbed from the page, replaced by a head shot of commissioner David Stern, a whole bunch of text and another photo of the WNBA's Diana Taurasi.
When the clock struck midnight on Thursday, the league entered a lockout. It has the potential to be an arduous one, too, that wipes away a significant portion or even all of the 2011-12 season. The league's owners had been in negotiations with the players' association for 18 months -- a year and a half! -- and the fundamental conversation hardly changed a bit.
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With no lockout deadline in sight anymore to serve as motivation to bridge the gap between owners who want a much harder "flex" salary cap and fewer years on guaranteed contracts, among other concessions, and players who want to keep the status quo after generations of players before them fought for those rights and benefits, it could be a long time before we get to see Kobe Bryant's lower jaw jut after a clutch jumper, much less anything else occur in an NBA basketball game.
Every person associated with the game -- fans, players, owners, team employees, arena workers, merchandisers and even media members -- will be affected by the lockout, but the question we really want to know the answer to is: How will the lockout affect the Los Angeles Lakers?
Here are five ways in which it could:
1. More time off could equal more time for
players to take care of their bodies
2. A new CBA at the end of the lockout could mean no more Walton
3. A lengthy lockout could mean little rest
between games in a shortened season
4. A lengthy lockout could mean a severely truncated training camp
5. A lockout could test Bryant's and Derek Fisher's
reputation as leaders more than ever
Dave McMenamin covers the Lakers for ESPNLosAngeles.com.
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