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NBA Lockout: League, Players' Union Enter Mediation, With Hope Of Progress

Top officials from the league and players' union met with federal mediator George Cohen on Monday, and NBA lockout talks will resume Tuesday with Cohen in the room. Talks broke off a week ago after the two sides failed to reach a deal by NBA commissioner David Stern's deadline to preserve an 82-game season. Stern later went on an extensive media tour to frame the debate as union director Billy Hunter met with players and dig his part to fire up the rhetoric.

Cohen previously served as general counsel for the players' union in the 1990s, and served as a mediator in the 2004 NHL lockout and 2011 NFL lockout. (Cohen's run with the NFL ended when the players' union decertified; federal mediation is not available in those cases.)

Stern indicated on Monday that if a deal is reached soon, the NBA could start its regular season within 30 days. The first two weeks of the regular season -- some 100 games -- have been cancelled, but reports have suggested that an 82-game schedule could kick off December 1 with condensed rest. That remains unconfirmed.