When the NBA and the players union agreed to a new collective bargaining agreement one of the main points everyone could agree on was that high payroll teams would suffer dearly.
Modifications to luxury tax rules that included hikes in the tax rates, how much tax teams could spend on free agents, and limitations on how tax teams could acquire players via trade were all designed to depress those teams' abilities to keep a high payroll teams intact for long stretches.
One could argue, then, that the team most affected by the new CBA was the Los Angeles Lakers.
After all, the Lakers have long been one of the highest spending teams in the league habitually paying the luxury tax in order to field a roster that's both talented and stacked with star power. The Lakers have also been one of the shrewdest operators on the trade market, making multiple moves to upgrade their roster -- for stars and for role players -- in recent seasons.
Year after year, the Lakers reside near the top of the standings not just because of their ability spend boatloads of cash, but do so wisely. In a league where true success can only be achieved through the combination of spending money on the right players (a team can't win by being cheap, nor can they win by spending on players that either aren't good or don't mesh well together), the Lakers have done so better than nearly any other team.
The NBA, in their pursuit of parity and profitability for all NBA franchises, saw this as an issue that needed to be addressed and pushed through a deal they hoped could make it happen.
So, here we are.
The Lakers find themselves in a situation where they'll need to navigate the new CBA wisely if they're to remain near the top of the league. The organization that's always found a way to build a competitive roster will have to find a way to continue to do so through a landscape defined by more restrictive rules and punitive payouts for a high payroll.
How will they do it? Let's get to it.