How to Rebuild an NBA Franchise in the Middle of a Season

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The dreaded rebuild. Perhaps the most unavoidable of necessary NBA evils, going back to the drawing board is both an admission of failure and a commitment to do something better next time around.

For the fans witnessing such an overhaul, these experiences are more bitter than sweet to be sure—painful lessons in delayed gratification. 

For the front offices running the show, well, this is how they make their money. It's also why they lose their jobs sometimes, particularly when those rebuilding projects become the norm. Patience runs thin in this league, especially for general managers who barely manage to get by.

Struggling franchises might have it easier if all rebuilding were equal, if there were a one-size-fits-all blueprint to guide their respective exits from the familiar depths of the draft lottery.

Unfortunately, the reality of starting over is more complex. The pricey path that eventually panned out for the New York Knicks isn't especially tenable for smaller markets like Cleveland or Orlando.

Rebuilding isn't just about acquiring talent. It's usually about doing so in a sustainable, cost-effective way. (Click on link below for full, awesome infographic.)

Losing—and the premium draft picks that come with it—can paradoxically accelerate a stalling rebuild. Meanwhile, loading up high-priced big names often has the exact opposite effect.

Building blocks aside, an organization's formula for recovery also has a a lot to do with cultivating a culture within which those building blocks can reach their full potentials.

As the 2012-13 season quickly becomes a lost cause for a handful of teams, we're breaking down the twists and turns of a franchise turnaround. What choices will they face, and what kind of fallout should they expect? 

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