As expected, the NBA will head into a lockout after the players union and owners weren't able to come to terms on a new collective bargaining agreement.
There's plenty going on right now, but here are the certainties: The two sides -- players union and owners -- are far apart, the lockout will commence at 11:01 PM (CST) and, simply put, this could be a very long lockout.
The last lockout in the NBA, during the 1998-99 season, lasted 204 days and didn't end until January 6. Most experts and analysts believe this one will be even worse, which certainly isn't good news for NBA fans, as we experienced the most interesting playoffs in quite some time.
At some point, we might even hope the lockout is as "bad" (or "good") as the NFL's.
Whose side are you taking? One thing is for sure: the folks who make their living working for the NBA teams (not the players) -- whether it be in the arena or as equipment managers -- will suffer the most. And NBA commissioner David Stern knows that.
"A lockout has a very large impact on a lot of people, most of whom are not associated with either side," Stern said. "They're the other employees of the teams, they're the people who work at the arenas. They're a whole raft of people who make their living from our industry.
"Given the fact that the teams were basically not to be profitable -- very close to break-even under the players' last proposal -- while the players would increase their compensation from the current range of $5 million to approximately $7 million, we didn't see any other option.
"I'm not scared," Stern said. "I'm resigned to the potential damage that it can cause to our league. ... As we get deeper into it, these things have the capacity to take on a life of their own. You never can predict what will happen."
With the NBA locked out, free agency will also be put on hold. The Bulls, among other teams, will have to put their free agency endeavors on hold.
As long as NBA games aren't missed -- just like NFL fans -- the NBA faithful will breathe easy. However, ESPN's Tom Penn said on a recent SportsCenter that if the last NBA lockout (1998-99) was a sprained ankle, this one is an ACL tear. Really hope not.
But brace for the worst. And it's really sad, as the NBA is coming off such a successful season -- in performance on and off the court and revenues. An entire season erased would be brutal for the sport, because unlike the NFL, you'll lose some fans. The NFL can come back after any type of season -- good or bad -- and still enjoy plenty of success from fans who will continue to tune in. Some NBA fans might be put off, and you'd lose plenty of momentum after such a banner campaign around the NBA.
"It worries me that we're not closer and we spent all this time trying to get closer," Stern said. "We have a huge philosophical divide."
And so it begins.
Shannon Brown an option for Bulls?: Hours before the NBA will lockout its players, L.A. Lakers guard Shannon Brown decided to opt out of his contract and will become a free agent this offseason (whenever it resumes).
Dave McMenamin of ESPNLosAngeles writes: "Brown, 25, informed the Lakers on Thursday, the last possible day with the June 30 deadline, that he would not be accepting their guaranteed deal worth approximately $2.4 million that was on the table. After playing for four teams through the first five years of his career, Brown is seeking a multiyear deal through free agency.
Brown said his agent, Mark Bartelstein, has been contacted by "several" teams with interest in the 6-foot-4, 210-pound guard's services. The pair also "did the homework," according to Brown, and surveyed the league's other 29 rosters to determine where he could be a fit.
Brown did not rule out the possibility of returning to the Lakers with a new deal, but did not sound optimistic about that occurring."
Will Brown stay in Los Angeles?
Said Brown: "I'm not sure, I can't really say. They just got two draft picks, two guards."
He's probably played his final game with the Lakers -- and it was a good ride, as he won two championships playing alongside one of the best players of all-time in Kobe Bryant.
Here's what he brings to the table: youth, athleticism, decent defense and can shoot a bit, though not great.
Interestingly, Brown has actually been a Bull before, playing six games with Chicago in 2007-08.
He is an undersized shooting guard at 6-4, and knowing the Bulls are committed to keeping size at the two-guard next to Derrick Rose in the backcourt, Brown wouldn't be a starter. Is he really the difference-maker at shooting guard?
He's athletic, will certainly have a few highlight reel dunks each season, but he isn't a great shooter -- career 34 percent shooter on three-pointers in about two attempts per game -- can't create off the dribble and isn't a difference-maker on the defensive end. Truly, how much of an upgrade is he over Keith Bogans or Ronnie Brewer?
Brown is a career seven-point per game scorer -- not a guy you'd want to make a featured two-guard on a championship team. And in his best two seasons, from 2009-11, he averaged around eight points. Not an ideal difference-maker at shooting guard, and certainly not the "splash" you'd hope Bulls GM Gar Forman was referring to.
And it probably won't be. There's simply better options out there -- via free agency (for example, Jason Richardson) or trade (Houston's Courtney Lee) -- than Shannon Brown. He's a decent player, though not a great fit or a difference-maker (on either end). In short: Though he'd probably come cheaper than some, he's not much of an upgrade at two-guard, which is what the Bulls are set out to do.