The question is what margin of victory the league is seeking. The cap will be contained. The number of guaranteed seasons will be diminished. Movement of star players will be reduced, with no repeat of what the Heat did last July.
The issue of who wins and loses already has been determined.
The need for ownership to dominate will determine the length of the lockout. From that standpoint, keep an eye on the Heat's Micky Arison, the Mavericks' Mark Cuban, the Lakers' Jerry Buss and the Knicks' James Dolan. Their teams have the most to lose. Their voice of reason (who would have thought?) will go a long way toward determining the degree of bloodletting.
Any change favors owners
The owners have a laundry list of desired changes. A harder cap, salary rollbacks, a shift in basketball-related income are just some of the areas the owners have shown they want altered. The players, on the other hand, would be happy with keeping the status quo.
The sides will meet somewhere in between, of course.
But by definition, that would be a win for the owners. At the minimum, the players can withstand a lockout at least until November. That's when their paychecks for the 2011-12 season normally would start rolling in.
Let's see then if the owners gain the leverage they're seeking.