With the owners taking a hard lined stance on economic issues, insisting that they flip the entire revenue model on its head, there stands a good chance the NBA will be without basketball this year. If that's the case, who are the big losers?
#5 Dallas Mavericks
Whatever infinitesimally small chance they had of repeating is gone. This was a crew that put everything together at the right time to do it this past season, and given the age of all their players, they'd have been hard pressed to do again this year. Throw another year on the group, and they're done.
Dirk - 34, Terry -35, Marion - 34, Kidd - 39, Peja - 35, Butler - 32, Tyson 30, Haywood - 33. That's simply not going to get it done with a missed season. I'd list them higher, but quite frankly, subtract a year, and I still don't think they can get it done this season if it happens either.
#4 New York Knicks
Why the Knicks? They were going to make a truckload of money this year. Potentially the highest profit margin in the league, and certainly over 50 million. Not many teams are losing that much cash in this lockout.
Throw this on top of it, do you really trust Carmelo or Amare to stay in shape during a year off? Carmelo's already got a layer of baby fat on him when he plays all year. Amare's lack of work ethic was well chronicled in the book 7 seconds or less about the Phoenix Suns.
#3 Miami Heat
The Miami Heat are going to win not one, not two, not three, etc.. etc.. They're young guys, but they're young guys who are attempting to become one of basketballs greatest dynasties. A lost season won't stop them from winning a title, but a year of age will certainly hurt their quest to fill up a hand and a half with rings.
Dwyane Wade would be nearing 31 (January), Bosh would have just turned 28 (October), and LeBron would be nearing 28 (December) when basketball starts up again in November 2012. Certainly they're a group in their prime still, but the claim of eight rings looks pretty ridiculous when LeBron would be 36 and Wade 39 on trip #8.
Even hoping for five seems like a stretch as Wade would be 36 at the time, and LeBron hasn't yet made the improvements to his game necessary to continue to dominate when his athleticism eventually lessens.
For a group that will be seen as a failure if they don't win at least three rings, losing a season in which they would be the heavily favored team in preseason isn't a good thing.
#2 Chicago Bulls
The Bulls could easily be the 90s Knicks, constantly thwarted by Michael Jordan, they could spend the next five seasons thwarted by the Heat and be the second best team in basketball. They have to hope any given year they put things together in such a way to beat Miami or that the Heat of some type of injury.
They've got a rough road ahead of them, as does the rest of the NBA, in hoping for the best. Every year they lose is a potential title down the drain, and the Bulls will easily start the season as one of the top three or four teams in odds to win the title (Miami, OKC, and LA are the only teams I could even begin to construct a case to be ahead of Chicago).
On top of that, the Bulls probably made the most money in the NBA last season, so they'll lose their shot at a ring and 70 million or so in operating profit. Ouch.
#1 L.A. Lakers
The Lakers barely nudge ahead of the Bulls because their window is so small. They likely only have one to two more years with a legitimate chance to win a ring in the Kobe Bryant era, and to lose one of them is crippling. Kobe would be 34 before the start of a 2012/13 season while Pau Gasol would be 32 on Nov 1st 2012.
That's not an insurmountable obstacle as Dallas just proved and teams like Boston and Chicago have proven before. However, with some young juggernaut teams as competition, it could potentially spell the end for the Lakers.
On top of losing their best chance to win a ring in the next five seasons, L.A. will also lose a truckload of money. They're a team paying deep luxury tax money, but their profit margin is still unbelievable due to the ticket prices they can charge and the local TV deal they can broker.
They vastly overpaid Kobe Bryant on the back end of his contract to reward him for what he'd done so far and to keep him a Laker for life. It kills them to lose Bryant in what would likely be the best season he has left.