Monday, October 17th, 2011 at 9:00 am  |  21 responses

Can Federal Mediator Help Save the NBA Season?

by Marcel Mutoni@marcel_mutoni

David Stern has created yet another self-imposed deadline for this NBA season (which may or may not be doomed): get close to getting a deal done this week, or the entire season could be toast.

And in steps federal mediator George Cohen, the man entrusted with saving the League and the players’ union from themselves.

Though Cohen’s breadth of knowledge and experience in these types of contentious negotiations gives him a certain amount of clout, it wouldn’t be wise to expect a miracle out of the scheduled meetings with Team Stern and Team Hunter.

From the NY Post:

One prominent NBA veteran agent/attorney, Steve Kauffmann, believes Cohen is the right man to recsue the NBA season. “This arbritrator is an extraordinary individual,” said Kauffman, who has pled cases before Cohen when he did some arbritration work for the Players Association. “The thing about him is, he’s not just good, fair, insightful. He doesn’t have a big ego, there’s no pretense to him. It would be impossible for the owners not to respect this man. I’ve met thousands of lawyers in my life. He may be the best one I’ve ever seen.” Cohen, appointed by President Obama to his position in 2009, will meet separately [Monday] with the Players Association and Stern’s NBA group. [Tuesday], Cohen and the two sides meet together. Cohen’s recommendations are not binding, as neither side has to go along with them.

Cohen is very familiar with the NBPA, serving as general counsel to the union in the 1980s and 1990s, and was front and center in the 1995 CBA negotiations. One NBA source, familiar with Cohen, said, “George is the only guy I’ve seen as smart as David Stern. And David knows it.” Kauffman was an NBA player agent for 31 years before becoming an attorney for coaches and management. Kauffman represents Donnie Walsh, now a Knicks consultant. Kauffman said he has noticed an increase in calls from NBA teams in recent days, looking to “expediate” contract talks with assistant coaches. Kauffmann sees it as an indication owners believe something big is about to happen.

Time is running out for the 2011-’12 NBA season, and both sides seem to be more entrenched than ever before. This federal mediator represents perhaps the best (final?) chance for a deal to get done soon.

Hey, no pressure or anything, George Cohen.

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  • http://itsahardwoodlife.blogspot.com omphalos

    Let it be so, the loss of two weeks will be forgiven if we don’t go below 70 games. I guess it means the Heat won’t be breaking the 96′ Bulls’ record anytime soon though.

  • Jacqueline Mitchell

    They better hurry up and get something done.Because I’m sure the players and the fans are getting very impatient.

  • http://slamonline.com Neitel#2

    This it it, and if it isn’t, then…bye bye nba season. This means for me, i do not need to spend my cash on NBA TV or League Pass this year. More money saved for me! and look forward to football!

  • Blue

    Make this happen! I love quality basketball and being from australia its hard to follow any leauge other than the nba since coverage of the sport is almost non existant over here(with an exception for the nbl but please i have better things to do)

  • http://slamonline.com The Philosopher

    I wonder what are the core values of these guys. (players and owners)

  • bull22

    i cant believe they had plenty of time to get this resolved before the season was suppose to begin november 1. the nfl knew better and has done a good job of shaming the nba…

  • http://www.slamonline.com Eboy

    This should have happened from the beginning. It may be too late now, though. I don’t trust the judgement of Billy Hunter and the representation of Derek Fisher as much as I trust the greed of the owners. I would hope for a miracle, but I think that’s asking for too much.

  • bike

    Short answer…no.


    82 games is still possible if George Cohen makes a new CBA happen.

  • http://www.slamonline.com UNFROZEN CAVEMAN LAWYER


  • http://www.twitter.com/nflem41 Nicolas Fleming


  • http://Slamonline.com Caboose

    If this cat can solve the lockout, every NBA fan will vote for Obama in 2012.

  • Clos1881

    I hope this works out. On another not I’m tired of going on other sites and seeing these uninformed borderline racist comments toward the players. A lot of fans feel as though the players should just take what the owners give them and shut up they try and compare their situation to nba players which is totally stupid and unfair.

  • Clos1881


  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    ^That happens here too. Sorry to tell you sport.

  • Chukaz

    Can Federal Mediator Help Save the NBA Season? the short answer is “No”. The long answer is “hahahahaha no”

  • http://thetroyblog.com Teddy-the-Bear

    To all the Americans, please don’t vote for Obama in 2012. Pretty please.

  • JuicyM

    cosign Teddy

  • Melrose

    I won’t Obama is a divider, not a leader. Analogous to this owner player dispute

  • http://cnbc.com JTaylor21

    It doesn’t matter who’s in office come 2012, all politicians are crooks. They will say whatever it takes to get elected and then sit on their a** for the next 4yrs until it’s time to lie again.

  • http://slamonline.com Ugh

    To all Americans – please vote for Sarah Palin. That would be hilarious.