The better teams will get by in the first month of the season on talent and strategy. But the overall quality of play will not be good. It certainly won’t be anything close to what it will be in October and beyond.
That doesn’t mean Friday’s collapse of mediated talks is unimportant. The impasse could be tremendously disruptive, leaving hundreds of free agents in limbo, draft picks unsigned, team personnel on furloughs or worse, and coaches taking pay cuts.