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Phoenix Suns Prepare For Lockout; Layoffs Possible, Marketing Changes Certain

The Phoenix Suns, like the rest of the NBA, will soon be settling in for a long hibernation that will come with the pending lockout. No one can quite agree on how long with labor dispute will last, but with the two sides so far apart it doesn't look good.

The Suns, according to a report in the Phoenix Business Journal, won't furlough or layoff any of their front office staff like the Arizona Cardinals did during the NFL lockout. But that decision seems to only be good for the normally scheduled offseason. If the lockout extends into October and the games start getting missed, the impact could run much deeper than the well-paid players and wealthy team owners.

Phoenix Suns won’t furlough or layoff workers if NBA locks out players | Phoenix Business Journal
The Suns won’t take a similar path unless games are lost in the fall, according to two sources familiar with the team. The Suns looked at some furlough options, including a 4-day work week, but are opting not to go that path, according the officials.

One very visible change once the clock strikes "game over" for the current CBA, is the removal of any and all player references from team marketing materials. All the NBA web sites will have to be scrubbed of player names, pictures or video. Even posters or billboards around town that show a player in uniform will have to come down.

Even without the players you can expect to see the Suns working hard to try and keep their name out in front of the community. Events like this week's visit to Wet 'N Wild water park is part of what they are calling "Operation Orange" which will keep the marketing and sales staff busy and possibly even generating a little income by sending the poor Gorilla into the hot Phoenix sun on missions of branding and promotion.

In the next few months the impact of the lockout will be minimal beyond that.

With the NFL lockout that began in March, it appears the sides are close to a deal that would allow time to restart the free agency process and get the teams back together in time for a normal training camp season. For the NBA with a much shorter offseason, the two side only have until late August or mid-September before the normal routine starts getting postponed.

There's always hope the two sides will find some sort of workable solution before that happens. But with the owners determined to dramatically roll back the players' pay and guarantee profits to even the league's most poorly run teams, that doesn't seem likely.

Settle in folks, this could be a long one.