I just don't see an alternative to make the NBA competitive. Somebody mentioned a consensus rookie salary scale and then letting teams sign them as free agents. But, that still favors the big franchises. They could get a stud rookie almost every year. If I'm a rookie, why wouldn't a sign with a great team that can then give me a massive Bird-rights contract in a few seasons?
It would become extremely difficult to field talent for the smaller franchises. Sure, you'd get to overpay for marginal stars, but that's about the best you'd get.
Also, I think the article overlooks that teams don't make a lot of money-- and lose money, if the owners were honest this summer-- if they lose for an extended period of time. It's in the best interest of a franchise to eventually become a great team, as that's what really makes you a lot of money, assuming you are doing a fair job on the business side of things.
As the league economist said, the economy of professional sports is a different beast to standard economics. You must have competitive balance while still allowing flexibility and encouraging teams to beat each other. It's tough for teams to manage, and it generally runs in cycles. (That same Sacramento organization had some very nice years in the early 00's)
I just don't see much of an alternative. The only thing that might make sense (and it wouldn't be practical at this point) is to have something like the British Premier football league, where the worst team is relegated to the minors and the best minor team joins the majors. Given the draft, NBA roster construction, and other reasons, I don't think that would work at all, but that type of thing might be worth looking at-- a penalty that comes with being the worst team. Maybe the worse five teams are ineligible for the playoffs the next season or two.