And the bold is something I hadn't considered, I guess because tanking makes so much sense to me. But you're very right about that: there is literally no way that you could spin jettisoning so much talent to your fan base, even if it's the right thing to do. That kind of tanking is completely unprecedented.
Sigh. Really, the only conceivable way to tank next year is if Gay goes down early, and for a very long time.