Jeffrey Kessler has not been a friend in these negotiations. His acerbic, aggressive style has provoked the owners. There's no doubt that the owners set themselves up for that dynamic with their intractable, all-consuming maw of greed in these negotiations, but Kessler's approach has included an inappropriate comment and multiple rejections on principle of deals the union may have wanted to disccuss further or attempt to negotiate through.
But his role in these talks could be changing. After Ken Berger of CBSSports.com first reported the involvement of Jim Quinn in negotiations as a back-channel facilitator for talks, the New York Times reports that his participation could coincide with a move for Kessler to the background.
In fact, Quinn was recently hired by Hunter to help complete the deal, according to a person who has spoken with Quinn. It appears that Quinn may have supplanted Jeff Kessler, the union’s pugnacious outside counsel, as the players’ lead negotiator.via N.B.A. and Players Resume Negotiations - NYTimes.com.
Kessler has a contentious relationship with Stern and is viewed by some on the owners’ side as an impediment to a deal.
Beck stated on Twitter that Kessler hasn't been taken out, just that Quinn has a louder voice.
One of the biggest issues in this ongoing disaster has been personalities and emotions becoming involved when it should be about business and logic. Kessler has been as much of an antagonist as anyone in these talks, even if he's been scapegoated some by the league. It's time for new people to be in charge of getting a resolution to try and avoid losing the season. The players have done their part, according to reports. Maybe it's time for the league to respond by sitting its hyper-aggressive owners down and keeping them from lunging across the table for every scrap.