The NBA that returns when the lockout of players ends — whenever that is — may have a leaner and meaner look.

According to Commissioner David Stern, there’s a possibility that there will be fewer teams when play resumes. On an ESPN podcast, he indicated that there is interest in contraction on both the players’ and owners’ sides, although a collective bargaining agreement will be completed first.

“[Contraction] is not a subect that we're against,” Stern said. “In fact, when you talk about revenue sharing, a number of teams have said that if you have a team that is perpetually going to be a recipient, aren't you better off with the ability to buy them in? Because between the revenue sharing and the split of international and the TV money, we could almost buy them in with their own money.

“The players actually have been heard to suggest that as well, which was interesting because that means they are suggesting that we eliminate 30 jobs, or the potential for 30 jobs. So we've said to the players, you know, ‘Give us the right to contract, let's agree upon what the basis will be. Let's make this deal and then let's continue to look at that subject.’ ”

Stern wasn’t naming candidates for contraction, though. Nor would that be a decision he’d make alone. “I do represent 30 owners," Stern said. “[Saying to an owner] 'I'm here to tell you that I think you should go out of business and no longer own a team' is something that needs to be done pursuant to a plan. We'll see how that works after we make a [CBA] deal and the revenue-sharing deal.

Teams most often mentioned are the New Orleans Hornets, which the NBA runs, the Charlotte Bobcats and the Sacramento Kings.