By A. Sherrod Blakely
CSNNE.com Celtics Insider
When you hear most people talk about the NBA lockout, it has an us-versus-them feel about it.
You have the owners on one side, and the players represented by the union on the other.
But in recent weeks, the players agents have entered the picture, turning this tug-of-war into a three-sided battle for power.
"It's almost like a triangle," Mo Evans, vice president of the NBA players union told CSNNE.com. "We're all separate entities, where we all have different interests. The union and the players are one entity, the agents are another and the NBA (owners) is another."
While agents have no official role in negotiating a new CBA, there's no question that their influence is alive and well behind the scenes as a number of agents have privately pushed for the players union to de-certify.
When the NBA players union met in Las Vegas earlier this month, de-certification was indeed a hot topic of discussion.
But the de-certification chatter has cooled off considerably since then, with the union and owners continuing to push forward - publicly at least - to try and iron out a new deal.
Several reports have the two sides meeting in New York City on Tuesday, with talks potentially resuming on Wednesday as well.
The players union and owners seem to be operating with a greater sense of urgency now, with the specter of regular season games being lost becoming more real with each passing day.
Last week, the NBA postponed the start of training camp along with canceling 43 preseason games that were scheduled for Oct. 9-15. It's unclear if any more games will be canceled, but according to CBSSports.com, NBA Deputy Commissioner Adam Silver said the league schedule will be re-evaluated on Oct. 1.
While there's a lot of work to be done by both sides before a deal is done, the fact that both sides are talking - and seem genuinely interested in communicating more often - is definitely a good thing.
"The owners are a sophisticated group of businessmen led by a great leader in Commissioner David Stern," Evans said. "They employ great tactical strategies and they're very crafty, educated and that's why Stern has grown this business - together with the players, grown this business - to where it is now. We don't underestimate them in any way. We respect the process."