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NBA Lockout Talks Feature New Negotiators For Players

NBA lockout talks have restarted for what seems like the 2,000th time as the league tries to save its season in time to play games on Christmas. But the players' side of the negotiating table has some new faces, reports Howard Beck of the New York Times.

Because of legal issues, the L.A. Lakers' Derek Fisher is not participating. Because of personality issues, Jeffrey Kessler has been replaced at the table by Jim Quinn, a former union counsel who helped broker the deal that ended the 1999 lockout. David Stern and Billy Hunter are believed to still be leading the charge, but other lawyers including Jonathan Schiller and David Boies have entered on the players' side.

Beck reported Wednesday that if a deal can be reached this weekend, a 66-game season would start December 25. That would result in the playoffs and NBA Finals being pushed back about a week; the Finals would then end in the third week of June at the latest, with the NBA Draft a week later, free agency beginning a week after that, and 2012 Olympics' preparations beginning almost immediately for a number of the league's players and coaches.