Little Progress Made After 16 Hours of Mediation

by October 19, 2011

by Marcel Mutoni@marcel_mutoni

Unfortunately for the pack of sleep-deprived journalists camped out at the hotel where NBA labor talks are taking place (and their Twitter followers waiting for updates with bated breath), federal mediator George Cohen issued a gag order on reps for the NBA players’ union and team owners following a marathon, 16-hour labor meeting yesterday in New York City.

So, without official confirmation from either side of the labor fight, reporters asked their trusted sources for some insight into the talks.

Not too shockingly, it doesn’t sound as though we’re that much closer to a deal.

From CBS Sports:

“Nothing has been agreed to,” said a person who was briefed on the talks. “There was nothing to say.” Negotiators rehashed the issues they’ve been wrestling with for more than two years, with the difference being that Cohen, according to a source, “took the emotion out of it.” No topics were excluded from the mediation session, including the biggest obstacles in the way of a deal — the split of revenues and a revised luxury tax system that would replace the hard team salary cap owners long sought in their efforts to achieve parity and competitive balance.

Cohen, a presidential appointee and the top federal mediator in the country, was at least able to do something that the two sides had been unable to do during a recent flurry of negotiations: focus on bridging the gap between them as opposed to concentrating on their own, still widely divergent positions, a source said. At one point late into the night, it was decided that the two sides needed to come back later Wednesday — a session that is expected to decide whether the change of format and removal of emotion will yield movement in each side’s position. A person with knowledge of the talks described Tuesday’s session as laying the “building blocks” for Wednesday. Both sides clearly realized it was time to make a deal, but neither was ready to do it in this — by far the longest — bargaining session of the 3 1-2 month lockout.

Talks will resume this morning under George Cohen’s supervision, and team owners have their own meetings scheduled later today and Thursday (to discuss, mainly, new revenue-sharing models.)

As always, stay tuned …