Well, assuming they weren't playing PS3 for 10 of the 16 hours, this was the most serious negotiating session the players and owners have had to date. It lasted well until 2 am EST and is scheduled to start up again at 10am this morning.
Unfortunately, per Adrian Wojnarowski, the leaks about progress are minimal.
“still not anywhere near a deal,” a league source said.
Asked if the sides had closed any gaps between them, a source in the meeting told Y! Sports: “On small stuff. Hard to see where this is going.”
Ken Berger's take is a bit more optimistic:
"Nothing has been agreed to," said a person who was briefed on the talks. "There was nothing to say."
Negotiators rehashed the issues they've been wrestling with for more than two years, with the difference being that Cohen, according to a source, "took the emotion out of it."
Cohen, a presidential appointee and the top federal mediator in the country, was at least able to do something that the two sides had been unable to do during a recent flurry of negotiations: focus on bridging the gap between them as opposed to concentrating on their own, still widely divergent positions, a source said.
At one point late into the night, it was decided that the two sides needed to come back later Wednesday -- a session that is expected to decide whether the change of format and removal of emotion will yield movement in each side's position. A person with knowledge of the talks described Tuesday's session as laying the "building blocks" for Wednesday.
So to sum it up, everyone agrees nothing was immediately resolved, and there was no real movement between the sides positions. Things were set up last night for both sides to sleep on it and attempt to make a move today.
It's certainly a positive that the emotions were taken out of the talks, and both sides were able to meet for this length of time in an attempt to work through a conclusion. We'll just have to hope that one of the sides comes into the meeting tomorrow in a conciliatory mood.
Many have used this phrase before, but if things don't go well now, things are about to get a whole lot worse. I'm not sure how long George Cohen will attempt to mediate talks, but if an agreement is not reached under his mediation then things are about to get real ugly.
Cohen has killed the emotion over the topics and has the sides at least talking calmly. If they can't reach an agreement under those circumstances, they'll have dug into their positions too far to reach anything reasonable soon.
While Stern may or may not have meant it as a threat, his comments on the likelihood of the league not playing on Christmas if they can't come to an agreement through mediation will almost certainly be accurate. A failure of the mediation process will cease attempts at rational negotiation and bring up the war of attrition.
Each side will simply hope to wait out the other side. Each side will initially begin to take back things already on the table in an attempt to make up the gap of what they lose in the war of attrition stage. Each side will dig in even stronger into their position as the negotiation becomes a test of manhood rather than a business decision.
In a rational world we'd have an agreement through mediation. In a rational world, both sides would know they're making things worse rather than better with their holdouts. Both sides would see the money left on the table stacking up higher and higher.
Let's hope George Cohen can bring them into that rational world today.
Filed under: Collective Bargaining Agreement