nbanhllead.jpgFar be it for us to be the harbinger of economic doom, but the NBA may be headed for some tough times. In fact, let super-agent David Falk tell it: "I think [fixing the NBA system is] going to be very, very extreme, because I think the times are extreme." Salaries are out of control, teams are losing money and the imminent end of the current collective-bargaining agreement is putting the 2010-11 NBA season in jeopardy. Sorry, but ain't no Krypto-Nate stopping that.

So, what's the solution? The NBA will always have its loyalists, but we have a suggestion that should be familiar to anybody who's suffered through a declining relationship: Distance yourself now before the heartbreak, and start seeing other people. Or, in this case, another league. Yup, the NHL. Yup, ice hockey. Look, we understand that most of you are indifferent about, if not openly hostile to, following the NHL, but the time is right to give the league another chance. Read on for our top 5 reasons why it may be time to jump ship on the NBA...

Guess which one of these dudes is worth $13 million per year.

ISSUE: The NBA's soft salary cap = overpaid scrubs, big-market favoritism; the NHL's hard salary cap = proportionate contracts, competitive balance.

• The two athletes pictured above were in the news last Thursday, but for decidedly different reasons: The sports world was still abuzz about the previous night's Alexander Ovechkin wonder goal; on the same day, the NBA trading deadline expired, meaning the usual desperate shuffling of salary-cap-killers like Larry Hughes, who was traded to the Knicks. The point in all this? Ovechkin'the NHL's undisputed best player, who's earned millions of dollars for both his franchise and the league'is in the first year of a contract that pays him $9 million per year. Hughes'a mediocre journeyman and funny-blog-inspirer'is guaranteed roughly $13.2 million for each of the next two years. Hughes is not an aberration, but an example of why the NBA is looking at a no-exception, no-luxury-tax hard cap, which will result in players like him losing money. Armageddon looms.

Click NEXT to see reason #4...

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