The Nightmare Scenario

We all know the NBA is facing some serious labor strife after this season, and none of us know exactly what financial system under which the league will operate a few years from now, some surely more advantageous to the Lakers than others. But it's fair to say the sort of hard cap scenario described by Wizards owner Ted Leonsis (comments earning him a $100,000 fine from the league) would be... bad.

Writes Sports Illustrated's Ian Thomsen:

"...Let's say there will be a hard cap on salaries after this season. That means the league is probably going to have to break up the flagship rosters of the Los Angeles Lakers and the Miami Heat. Fans are not going to be happy about this painful transition to a hard-cap system, but is there any other way? Let's say a lockout kills off part of next season, resulting in a moratorium to provide franchises with time to dump salaries and make moves to get under the cap for 2012-13. That extra year isn't going to help the Lakers -- in 2012-13 they are committed to pay a preposterous $92 million in player salaries, which puts them $36 million above the current soft-cap threshold. How could they fit themselves under the hard-ceiling cap and still hold on to Kobe Bryant (who is owed $28 million in 2012-13), Pau Gasol ($19 million), Andrew Bynum ($16 million on a team option) and Lamar Odom ($8 million on a partial guarantee)?..."

Yeah, that ain't good. Obviously this is extremely hypothetical at this point, but lest you think NBA Labor Negotiations and You! is a show not worth watching, think again.