NBA spokesman Tim Frank says U.S. federal mediator George Cohen plans to attend the scheduled labour negotiations Saturday between the owners and the players' union.

Cohen presided over a marathon three-day session of negotiations late last month to try to help bring the two sides closer together in what has become an increasingly bitter battle.

A group of players has discussed disbanding the union, and ownership also is said to be divided as they try to avoid losing the 2011-12 season. The first month of games already has been cancelled, including what was supposed to be opening night on Tuesday.

The union and the owners are scheduled to meet in New York.