It's being reported that the chief negotiator for the NBA players Jeffrey Kessler has been replaced by Jim Quinn.
Quinn was the NBPA lead outside counsel for over 20 years. He's been brought in to save the season, which the NBA wants to start by Christmas. A number of owners and David Stern have reportedly found Kessler to be divisive and an impediment to getting a deal done.
There have been reportts that the NFL lockout ended once Kessler was removed from the negotiations. However, it is not fair to lay blame squarely on the shoulders of Kessler for the NBA situation, since he has a boss - Billy Hunter. Still, there has been a lot of talk that a deal is more likely to get done with Quinn at the helm and not Kessler.
Quinn played a similar role in 1998-99 lockout, when he was brought in at the 11th hour to save the season. According to various reports, he is a respected voice a reason and has a good relationship with Stern.
The opinion here at Offside has been that a deal would get done to save the season. There are fairly obvious areas of compromise. The sides just need to balance out revenue sharing with system issues like free agency and the luxury tax. There is room for a deal here and the sides will find it. They are too close not to get a deal done and save the season.
So for now, this is where we stand:
new lead negotiator + fairly obvious areas of compromise = optimism
As a side note, since the Union has disclaimed interest, we are not seeing CBA negotiations but rather settlement discussions. No union = no CBA discussions.