The NBA season may be in limbo, but that doesn't mean players who are on the brink of unemployment aren't thinking long and hard about their futures.
Times are tough, the economy isn't the robust fountain of opportunity it used to be, and the NBA—a generally profitable empire—is slowly falling apart at the seams squabbling over greenbacks.
An NBA lockout for the entire 2011-12 season is becoming increasingly probable for a league that will have no choice but to take a markedly more conservative financial approach in regards to splurging on sub-par, feeble or dubious talent.
That is, when the Association does return from hiatus, teams cannot give out max contracts to players like Joe Johnson who fall short of the franchise label.
Furthermore, by the same token, each team will have to exercise prudence when it comes to choosing role players to round out its roster.
In the past, a solid "hand" could be used to whip the remaining fans in the stands into a frenzy during "garbage" time, or at the very least, offer a body to pound against during practice.
Now, with cost-cutting measures a guaranteed priority, NBA general managers might have to jettison some of the flotsam that got by, innocuously, on comparatively modest contracts.
Previously a luxury requiring little forethought, NBA's version of the national minimum wage, or thereabouts, must sooner or later be doled out judiciously.
Likewise, the players who could impact a team's success but are no longer able to, due to age, injuries or attitude, may also encounter buyer-resistance from general managers who see them as damaged goods—bargain-priced or not.