The Los Angeles Lakers have a deal that assures they'll be available with Time Warner Cable, but there are no assurances that any other major cable carrier in the region will carry the channel.
Currently, Cox Cable (1.2 million subscribers in mainly the Orange County and San Diego areas), DirecTV, and Dish Network still have yet to carry the new SportsNet channel. That could mean a good majority of fans in the Los Angeles area that do not have access to Time Warner Cable will be left in the dark with regards to Lakers basketball.
Time Warner Cable is seeking $3.95 for SportsNet and Deportes (the Spanish-language sports channel), a price that seems incompatible for any of the other carriers to accept. Cox wanted to put the channel on a specialty tier reserved for sports networks, but they were ultimately rebuffed and no deal was made.
Here is the statement issued by Time Warner Cable Sports.
October 24, 2012 - Los Angeles, CA - With the Los Angeles Lakers, LA Galaxy and Los Angeles Sparks, two networks and unprecedented behind-the-scenes programming, Time Warner Cable SportsNet and Time Warner Cable Deportes are delivering tremendous value for Southern California sports fans. Any assertion that we are the highest priced regional sports outlet in the country is simply untrue; as a significant buyer of regional sports across the country, we know that there are higher priced regional sports networks, including Root Sports that we buy from DirecTV. Cox and DirecTV know that there is no regional sports network anywhere in the country that is offered on an optional tier -- that would be unprecedented. If Cox or DirecTV choose not to carry our networks, we and their customers will be very disappointed but we are confident there will be other alternatives for their customers to see this highly-anticipated Lakers season.