The NBA lockout situation probably won't be resolved anytime soon, which isn't a huge deal for players and fans right away because there are still four months until the 2011-12 season is expected to begin. It apparently is a big deal, though, to an entirely different group of people that work for the league: those in charge of NBA team websites and NBA.com. If this report by ESPN's Kevin Arnovitz is true, those people will be in major trouble.
According to Arnovitz, as long as the lockout is on, any pictures or video associated with a current player must be wiped off the site. If you interpret "fair use" literally, the mere mention of a players' name in an article may not even be allowed. As a result, team websites and NBA.com may resemble something you would have seen on the Internet in 1996.
However strict the boundaries, overhauling the architecture of these sites is a painstaking process that has a lot of talented web people around the league very stressed out. The NBA has built and furnished each team with a website "wire frame" that will take the place of the existing, much more sophisticated site. The wire frame is a rudimentary version of the site, without a lot of the snazzy technology we've grown accustomed to seeing. As a result, each of the 30 team sites will look virtually identical.
"We're going back to the stone ages of the internet," said one team website administrator. "It's all going to be very dumbed down."
Without the ability to write about the actual players, teams will have to fill a lot of space writing about mascots and promotional events. Eventually, people will stop coming back, and the sites will lose a lot of traffic. At least that is the fear.
It is worth noting that the NFL had a similar mandate in late February, but most NFL teams have continued to write about their players on their websites. With so much open to interpretation, it's possible the same thing will happen with most NBA teams.