The current Collective Bargaining Agreement between the NBA and the NBPA is set to expire once the clock strikes midnight on the East Coast. What this means, of course, is quite simple: the NBA will be in a lockout as of July 1, 2011.
There are plenty of issues at hand, though what sticks out the most is that the majority of the owners in the NBA are losing money. ESPN reported on SportsCenter earlier on Thursday that the net losses for the owners was around 300 million dollars. This, of course, is a problem for any league. As such, it's believed that the owners will be adamant on a hard salary cap, as opposed to the soft one that is currently in place.
Once the lockout is in effect, and be realistic here - it will be in effect as of midnight, free agency will be delayed, much like it is in the NFL right now. Two of the four major sports in the United States will be in a lockout. At least the NFL lockout should be over soon (we hope), but this NBA lockout could get very ugly, with reports that owners are willing to miss the upcoming season.
Mavericks fans, enjoy your title - it could last two offseasons.