Yahoo Sports Adrian Wojnarowski reported on Wednesday that representatives from the league and the players' union had quietly met on Tuesday and Wednesday. The two sides will take Thursday off but will meet again on Friday with hopes of hammering out a deal that would save the Christmas Day schedule and possibly lead to a 66 game schedule.
While both sides are still preaching caution, there is a new element that has been introduced into this round of negotiations. ESPN.com's Marc Stein reports that union chief Billy Hunter has hired Jim Quinn (who we talked about yesterday) to replace Jeffrey Kessler. Quinn helped broker the eventual deal during the 1998-99 lockout while Kessler has been a polarizing figure on both sides of the negotiations. Sources credit Quinn with getting both sides back to the negotiating table this week.
We have been here before but with each passing day the stakes go up and the clock continues to tick. The key move in this report is replacing Kessler's voice with that of Quinn who is well respected by both sides. Negotiations between the two sides had deteriorated so much that a fresh voice with a clear perspective was needed. Quinn is now faced with the daunting task of getting hardline NBA owners to soften their stance or getting the players to accept the deal that is on the table.
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