NBA, players meet for lengthy session

Sports Network

, Last Updated: 4:56 AM ET

New York NBA labor talks lasted past midnight on Tuesday, according to the New York Times.

George Cohen, who serves as director of the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service and was an early staple of NFL negotiations, met with both sides in the NBA labor dispute on Tuesday.

The talks started around 10 a.m. Tuesday and lasted into the wee hours Wednesday morning. The negotiating session was the longest of the lockout.

Cohen had met separately with league officials and players on Monday, a week after the NBA canceled the first two weeks of the regular season in its first loss of games since 1998-99, when the schedule was reduced to 50 games because of a work stoppage.

The failure to reach a new collective bargaining agreement has so far cost the league a total of 100 games. But NBA commissioner David Stern said last week that an unsuccessful mediation session on Tuesday could put the entire season in jeopardy -- or at least the games through the popular Christmas schedule.

The NBA Board of Governors is set to meet on Wednesday and Thursday.

Among the biggest wrinkles separating the sides is a disagreement on the split of basketball-related income. They are also at odds over a hard salary cap, which the players oppose.

Besides the NFL, Cohen has also mediated disputes between Major League Soccer and the MLS players union, the Metropolitan Opera and orchestra musicians, the Federal Aviation Administration and the air traffic controllers union and the American Red Cross and a national coalition of labor unions, according to his official FMCS biography.

The NBA lockout began July 1 after the most recent labor deal between the sides expired.

Unlike the labor issues that caused the NFL lockout -- which long appeared to be solvable -- the problems facing the NBA have led observers to warn about a prolonged dispute similar to the one that led to the cancellation of the 2004-05 NHL season.


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