No new CBA after 16-hour session

No new CBA after 16-hour session
October 19, 2011, 2:18 am
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NEW YORK NBA commissioner David Stern did not emerge hand-in-hand, or even shoulder-to-shoulder, with NBAPA executive director Billy Hunter following Tuesday nightWednesday morning's marathon bargaining session to address the media.

In fact, Stern and Hunter didn't emerge at all.

Gone was the usual post-bargaining session rhetoric from both sides.

In their place?

A gag order, courtesy of George Cohen, the federal mediator who met with both sides individually on Monday, and collectively on Tuesday.

Mike Bass, senior vice-president of marketing communications for the NBA, said talks would resume Wednesday morning. The NBA will also have Board of Governors meetings later today as well as on Thursday.

While this latest round of talks was easily the longest bargaining session thus far, the length of the meeting should not be a sign of how much, if any, progress has been made.

Most of the bargaining sessions between the NBA and the players union have lasted several hours.

And while no one expected Tuesday's meeting to result in a new deal, many were optimistic that at the very least, both sides would be inching towards a new Collective Bargaining Agreement which would jump-start an NBA season that has already been cut short when Stern announced last week the cancelation of the first two weeks of the season.

The X-factor moving forward in these meetings is Cohen, who was appointed by President Barack Obama two years ago as director of the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service.

While it's unclear how much of an impact Cohen had on TuesdayWednesday morning's labor session, there's no mistaking that there was a need for change within the labor talks between both sides.

After talks broke down earlier this month, Stern and Hunter went on a media blitz, seemingly doing their best to score points in the court of public opinion.

Stern hinted to multiple media outlets last week that games scheduled on Christmas might be canceled if a deal weren't agreed upon following Tuesday's marathon session.

"If we don't make it (a deal) on Tuesday, my gut . . . is that we won't be playing on Christmas Day," Stern told WFAN-AM.

Because of the gag order, it's unclear if enough progress has given Stern hope that Christmas games may still be played.

Hunter, after a regional meeting with players in Los Angeles last week, said, "it can only get worst for both of us. If somebody's pointing a gun at my head, I'm gonna point one back at him. That door doesn't swing one way; not just the players are going to suffer. The owners are going to suffer if there are games lost."

Although the union has maintained that it will remain united throughout the lockout, there were signs last week that the union may not be quite as together as they appear.

Washington Wizards center JaVale McGee left the meeting early, but on his way out spoke with the media.

He said that the majority of the players are "ready to stand strong."

But he also said that there are, "definitely some guys in there saying that they are ready to fold."

His comments were shot down by union president Derek Fisher afterward.

"The person that spent the least amount of time in the room, can't make that statement," Fisher said. "He's in no position to make that statement on behalf of the group. As I said earlier, it's obviously fair in negotiations of this magnitude, that we're going to have guys that have different opinions because we have guys in different positions."