NBA Lockout Talks Break Down Again

Oct 21, 2011, 10:02 by R.E. Christian

The federal mediator trying to bring an end to the NBA labor stalemate said Thursday talks had broken off and further mediation would serve "no useful purpose."

No further negotiations were scheduled, bringing the NBA season closer to a dramatic reduction in size or even total cancellation.

Owners and players met for a third time Thursday under the auspices of the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service. The previous sessions had gone late into the night, leaving negotiators from both sides weary and NBA Commissioner David Stern so sick with the flu that he could not attend Thursday's meeting.

Mediator George Cohen emerged from the session Thursday to say the three days of talks had brought no success.

"During this period, a wide variety of issues were addressed in a professional, thoughtful manner, consistent with what one would expect to take place in a constructive collective bargaining setting," Cohen said. "Regrettably, however, the parties have not achieved an overall agreement, nor have they been able to resolve the strongly held, competing positions that separated them on core issues.

"In these circumstances, after carefully reviewing all of the events that have transpired, it is the considered judgment of myself and Deputy Director Scot Beckenbaugh, who has been engaged with me throughout this process, that no useful purpose would be served by requesting the parties to continue the mediation process at this time.

"For our part, the agency has advised the parties that we will be willing and prepared to continue to facilitate any future discussions upon their mutual request."

The NBA has already lost games scheduled from Nov. 1-Nov. 14, although there had been reports a new schedule had been drawn up by the NBA that would have allowed the league to play a full 82-game campaign if a quick settlement could have been reached.

This latest breakdown, however, could easily lead to a further loss of games and creates the possibility the entire season could be lost.

"Ultimately we were unable to bridge the gap that separates the two parties," NBA Deputy Commissioner Adam Silver said. "We understand the ramifications of where we are. We're saddened on behalf of the game."

Source: UPI