Interesting little "Yahoo! Contributor" article, title says it all. Take with a grain of salt, as you would a BleacherReport article, simply because this is a "fan's view".
Originally Posted by Adam HughesAs expected by many, NBA owners and players failed to make any progress in labor negotiations before their collective bargaining agreement expired at midnight on July 1. As a consequence, the NBA now joins the NFL in lockout mode, and fans everywhere are bracing for a long battle that may wipe out most or all of the 2011-12 season. For Indiana Pacers fans, the prospect of a long work stoppage is particularly nerve-racking because most of us feel like the organization is finally making some progress on the road back to contention. It's hard to tell for sure how the franchise will emerge from this period of darkness, but I think we can make some guesses about the impact of this news on the Pacers.
First of all, the pressure to name a head coach is probably off of team president Larry Bird, if he ever felt any pressure in the first place. Since there are no players to coach, it really doesn't matter if the head man right now is Frank Vogel, John Wooden or Peyton Manning. It doesn't matter if Brian Shaw is the associate head coach or whether Vogel has made progress in filling out a prospective staff. Of course, now that it's not a front-burner issue, Bird might surprise us and finally put his stamp of approval on Vogel.
It will also be interesting to see how Bird himself is affected by the lockout, as he recently professed his desire to step down at the end of next season. In fact, Larry Legend said in a recent interview with The Boston Globe that he really wanted to walk away this spring but was persuaded by owner Herb Simon to stay through the lockout season. Will the break in normal NBA business at all change his attitude about remaining with the organization? If not, then a lost season could also mean that we've pretty much seen the last of Bird's big moves.
The biggest of those recent moves, of course, was bringing George Hill home to Indianapolis. Now that the players and their teams have parted ways, at least for the time being, it will be fascinating to see if Hill and his new teammates can find a way to start getting acquainted on and off the court. Returning keystones like Paul George(notes), Danny Granger(notes) and Roy Hibbert(notes) can surely give Hill a good idea of what to expect when the team finally gets on the floor, but that would assume that Vogel and his system will be back when the two sides are on good terms again.
The big question is whether Indiana fans will still have the warm feeling toward this team that has been building over the last few months once the labor situation is settled. If the wrangling doesn't go on too long and kill the whole season, I'd guess that we'll still be pretty enthusiastic in the fall or winter. If we miss a whole year of NBA basketball, then all bets are off.