This, of course, is the question on which all other questions ride. The CBA (Collective Bargaining Agreement) expired this year, and the owners seem willing to play hardball in order to get some draconian cuts—the elimination of guaranteed contracts being just one of them. And while the players have known about this for a while, the owners are always better prepared to ride out a work stoppage. The two sides are talking, but trying to bridge what feels like an unbridgable gap. A lockout seems inevitable. Which, after a wonderful playoffs and a ratings-bonanza Finals, seems like a terrible shame. Our best guess? The League parties like it's 1999 with a 50-game schedule—although even that may be optimistic.