NBA turns to mediation to help speed up labor deal


NBA turns to mediation to help speed up labor deal

NEW YORK The NBA lockout is on the verge of taking a turn that may very well be the game-changer both sides have been looking for to get the process of reaching a deal on a new Collective Bargaining Agreement going.

And his name is George H. Cohen.

Cohen, director of the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service, will serve as a mediator between the two sides this week.

He'll meet with NBA commissioner David Stern and NBAPA's Executive Director Billy Hunter in separate meetings on Monday. On Tuesday, Cohen is scheduled to have a joint meeting with both sides.

While Cohen doesn't have the authority to make either side do or say anything, his intervention may be just what both sides need to cut down on the rhetoric, and actually move closer towards a new CBA that would endthe league's second work stoppage.

When it comes to mediating high-profile sports leagues, there are few, if any, in the same class as Cohen.

Cohen has been involved in mediating disputes between Major League Soccer and its players union, and more recently the NFL and its lockout, which didn't cost any regular-season games but certainly had an impact by limiting what teams did in the offseason.

Here's a closer snapshot of the man that just might be the key to bringing NBA basketball back this season.

Name: George H. Cohen

Title: Director, Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service (October 8, 2009-present).

Bio: In addition to the NFL and MLS, Cohen has also mediated disputes between the Federal Aviation Administration and the National Air Traffic Controllers Association, as well as the American Red Cross and national coalition of labor unions; served as appellate court attorney with the National Labor Relations Board.

Education: Cornell University and its law school; has an LLM degree from Georgetown University Law school. From the mid-1970s thru 2005, was an Adjunct Professor at Georgetown Law School where he taught the Art of Collective Bargaining, Labor Law and Professional Sports and The Law of Occupational Safety and Health."

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Celtics-Heat preview: Do C's need to bounce back from a win?

Celtics-Heat preview: Do C's need to bounce back from a win?

BOSTON – The final score on the Jumbotron Friday night said the Celtics beat the Phoenix Suns 130-120.
But there was a clear and undeniable sense of loss on the part of the Celtics, even if Friday’s victory was their third in a row and sixth in the past seven games.
The Celtics (47-26) hope to continue on their winning ways tonight against a Miami Heat team currently among a handful fighting for one of the last playoff slots, but are doing so without Dion Waiters (ankle) who has been instrumental in their surge after an 11-30 start to the season.
Beating the Heat (35-37) will require Boston to play better than they did against the Suns, a game Boston won, but in many ways had the feeling of defeat.
Yes, Devin Booker’s career-high 70 points was very much a blow – a huge blow – to the pride of a team that takes tremendous pride in its defense.
But the sense of a loss came in the form of purpose while playing as close to their potential as possible.
The Celtics fell short on both fronts Friday night.
Being just one game behind Cleveland (47-24) for the best record in the East, the Celtics understand getting as many wins as possible is the mindset right now.
But coach Brad Stevens knows that while winning is important, how the team plays is even more valuable.
“Like I’ve said before, I’m surprised at where we are record-wise because we’ve got to play at a higher level for 48 minutes,” Stevens said. “We just don’t do it.”
Is this Stevens’ way of trying to motivate his players after a not-so-great performance?
Or is he seriously concerned that his team isn’t as good as their record?
The Celtics, by their own standards, and to those of us on the outside looking in, know they are a better team than the one we saw on Friday night.
Not having Avery Bradley (sick) certainly hurt Boston’s efforts defensively.
Still, a Friday night’s game wore on, Booker’s confidence only grew and the Celtics’ desire to shut him down or at least slow him down, began to dissipate like an ice cube in hell.
And that’s a problem - a big problem - for a team that has to be connected at both ends of the floor for an extended period of time in order to play at the level their capable of and, most important, give them the best shot at emerging victorious in the postseason.
That’s why Stevens isn’t too caught up in the team’s chances of catching Cleveland, or whether they go into the playoffs riding a fat winning streak.
“I’m not going to get caught up in winning a couple of games in a row and all that stuff,” Stevens said. “I want to get caught up in playing well. We’ve shown ourselves capable of playing well, we have not sustained it throughout a game. And it’s been pretty consistent.”