So it would seem that with every passing day and every meeting without conclusion that we are going to be missing some of or all of the next season. Both parties are going to lose out in this scenario. With that being said however, some teams have a little more to lose than others. In my opinion here are the five teams with the most to lose if we have a shortened/ lost season. (In no particular order)
Orlando Magic: This is a bit of a no brainer. Dwight Howard is not that happy with his current situation in Orlando. In 2009 they were just a few games away from winning an NBA championship when they made it to the NBA finals. In 2011 they were bumped out of the playoffs in the first round by the Atlanta Hawks, who then lost in the second round to the Chicago Bulls, who then lost in the conference finals to the Miami Heat who then fell to the Dallas Mavericks in the NBA finals. They now seem so distant from the top of the league. Obviously this is where the competitor that is Dwight Howard wants to be and to see his team slipping further and further back must be killing him inside. They made some questionable moves this past season and if 2010/ 2011 is anything to go off then Dwight Howard would be out of there in no time. Any team in the league would welcome his services so finding a new team to accommodate him would be no problem at all. Many of you would already know what happened to Shaquille O’Neal in his Orlando Magic days. He got them to the finals, bolted for another team and it took Orlando 13 years to make another finals appearance. Orlando would be dreading making the same mistake twice. In my eyes they are the team with the most to lose if the lockout continues. I predict that they will fall right down the bottom of the Eastern Conference if they let him walk.
New Orleans Hornets: The Hornets have Chris Paul to lose. He has been their go to guy ever since he arrived in 2005. Although he is not as visibly frustrated as Dwight Howard, he is a free agent at the end of the season. Rumour has it that he could be heading over to make the next super team with Carmello Anthony and Amare Stoudemire in New York but this cannot be confirmed. It seems as though he is on the fence with his future, not willing to comment either way, which is good and bad for the Hornets franchise. They also have the more immediate issue of David West who is coming off knee surgery. Keeping him or letting him play elsewhere could also heavily influence Chris Paul. The Hornets have always managed to scrape into the lower half of the Western Conference playoff ladder which proves to be rather difficult these days but they seem to be treading water and not really moving anywhere. With no immediate help insight this could lead to his departure.
New Jersey Nets: It’s a very similar story in New Jersey and in New Orleans. They have a star Point Guard from the 2005 draft coming up to the end of his contract. Deron Williams was traded to New Jersey during the last season because he was unhappy in Utah. He seems to be much happier in New Jersey but he has not made any commitment to his future. He seems like he would be willing to give New Jersey a chance but I think the Nets really need the whole season (preseason included). If they lose him for nothing, New Jersey are back to the bottom of the league, though mind you they do not really have that far to fall. If he stays, they have two solid pieces to build around in Williams and Brook Lopez. In theory they have a lot to lose, but in reality, the Nets probably have more to gain if we get a complete season. Nonetheless they should still be pushing for a full season.
Dallas Mavericks: They are the defending champions. They have been on a roll as evident from their recent championship (duh). No team would be feeling better about its chemistry and its own ability right now. They also did this without the man who was brought in to be their number two scorer, Caron Butler. I would imagine the Mavericks would be wanting to get out and play again. The longer they spend sitting around the worse this could be. On top of that they also have Tyson Chandler, who Dirk Nowitzki has openly said was the difference maker this year, JJ Barea, who has really elevated his game and is a potent scorer off the bench and Caron Butler, who was the teams second leading scorer who are all free agents. I would assume Dallas would want to resign all three of them. A short offseason could be devastating for the defending champions.
Los Angeles Lakers: They burned out in the second round of the playoffs. They had home court advantage and were swept. Word has it that the Lakers championship window is closed. The Lakers want to prove that this is not the case. Phil Jackson has retired, the man who led them to their last 5 championships. Mike Brown is in as the new coach. He is a great coach, he is a winning coach. The only thing is that he preaches a very different system to Phil Jackson. There is going to be a lot of changes in the playing style at Los Angeles. They really need a full offseason and preseason to introduce it. They will have difficulty picking it up on the fly. For a team that is out to prove that it can still win a championship a change in playing style could prove to be disastrous if not implemented properly. The fact that Kobe Bryant has openly said that he would be willing to play overseas would not help matters at all.