HoopsHype George Cohen rumors

November 26, 2011 Updates
November 7, 2011 Updates
November 6, 2011 Updates

NBA commissioner David Stern delivered the Players Association a take-it-or-leave-it offer, threatening the owners’ proposals will become substantially worse if the union doesn’t accept the deal by Wednesday. The league’s latest proposal was derived from compromises federal mediator George Cohen suggested in Saturday’s negotiating session and included a revenue split that would range from 49 to 51 percent for the players. Stern said union attorney Jeffrey Kessler rejected the proposal. “Hope springs eternal and we’d love to see the union accept the proposal that’s now on the table,” Stern said. Yahoo! Sports

Union attorney Jeffrey Kessler, singled out by David Stern as the one who rejected virtually all the compromises the commissioner said were proposed by mediator George Cohen, described the league’s tactics as “threats” and characterized the NBA’s description of its economic proposal as “fraud.” CBSSports.com

November 5, 2011 Updates

A source from each side said only the full bargaining committees are expected at the afternoon negotiating session, but the list of attendees is fluid and could change. But CBSSports.com learned that federal mediator George Cohen will, in fact, oversee Saturday's talks. CBSSports.com

Jordan is on the other side of the table now, and it is beyond a little bit suspicious that he is now suddenly being portrayed as the leader of a ruthless ownership faction that is dictating the negotiating strategy of commissioner David Stern. These owners, we are being asked to believe, would rather shut down their sport at the height of its global growth spurt than meet somewhere in the middle on the split of revenues. I am calling bullshit on them. This is a con, and all it is meant to do is put pressure on union negotiators to take the league’s “best and final offer” (actually, those words have yet to come out of Stern’s mouth) when that type of offer is put on the table today (or tomorrow, or Monday) with federal mediator George Cohen overseeing the proceedings. SheridanHoops

November 4, 2011 Updates

A source from each side said only the full bargaining committees are expected at the afternoon negotiating session, but the list of attendees is fluid and could change. There also has been no word from the league on whether it will agree to the return of federal mediator George Cohen, or perhaps another mediator, at Saturday's talks. Union chief Billy Hunter said Thursday he welcomed a return to mediated talks. CBSSports.com

The players' growing interest in decertification almost ensures that the union will not retreat from its demand for a 52 percent revenue split, and league sources have told Broussard a significant number of owners are growing resistant to offering the players a 50/50 split. Federal mediator George Cohen will also attend Saturday afternoon's meeting, according to league spokesman Tim Frank. ESPN.com

However, sources told The Post it is still unlikely to happen. Decertification can kill the season as easily as it could end the lockout. Furthermore, without union permission, they need 30-percent of the players to sign petitions for an election before the NLRB and then need a majority player vote to decertify, sources said. “Not an easy process,’’ one source said. Meanwhile, the Players Association and its 13-member player executive committee held a three-hour, rallying-session meeting yesterday and invited writers to their offices to try to show they are unified and claim Derek Fisher and Billy Hunter have no rift as reported. Hunter put his arm around Fisher for emphasis. Tomorrow’s union-owners meeting was initiated by federal mediator George Cohen, who called Hunter earlier this week, asking to get back into the fray after failing last month. Hunter said he wants Cohen involved tomorrow. Stern has not signed off on it. New York Post

November 3, 2011 Updates
November 1, 2011 Updates

Howard Beck: Looks like the federal mediator will not be rejoining NBA labor talks. Nor are any (non-mediated) talks scheduled. Will have more later. Twitter

Cohen spent more than 24 hours over two days refereeing the talks last month, only to see them blow up over the contentious issue of the BRI split. The same thing happened without Cohen on Friday, and while sources believe union chief Billy Hunter wouldn't have been permitted to walk away from the table with a line in the sand drawn at a 52-48 split in favor of the players, it's not clear whether Cohen would've been able to elicit enough compromise to keep the talks going. So while bringing the mediator back into the room couldn't hurt, I have a better idea. To borrow a phrase from commissioner David Stern: mediator, schmediator. Breaking the impasse and securing a handshake on a new CBA so the NBA can reopen for business really only requires two people to be in the room: 1) Stern, and 2) Hunter. CBSSports.com

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