View Full Version : Agreement could have refs back in time for season opener

10-20-2009, 08:36 PM

An agreement in principle was reached in New York on Tuesday between the league and its veteran referees on a new two-year contract that will end the lockout of the NBA's 57 regular officials and get them on the court in time for next week's regular season opener, according to a source with knowledge of the discussions.

The agreement came after the referee's union indicated to the league that if it would accept the officials' latest proposal, the union's five-member executive board would recommend to the rank and file to ratify the deal, and that the union could assure broad support among the membership, the source said. The NBA agreed. The executive board will recommend passage of the new contract on Friday in a meeting of the officials in New Jersey, with the expectation of approval that would lead to all referees reporting to a brief camp on Saturday before the start of games a week from today.

"I think it's great," players' association director Billy Hunter said. "We'd welcome them back."

Tuesday's meeting included NBA Commissioner David Stern and the union's attorney, Lamell McMorris, who hadn't met face-to-face in more than a month, since acrimonious negotiations between the two led to each recusing himself from further negotiations between the sides. Also at the meeting, according to the source, was deputy commissioner Adam Silver, the NBA's president of league and basketball operations, Joel Litvin, and the league's executive vice president and general counsel, Rick Buchanan.

McMorris was joined on the referees' side by officials Steve Javie, Bennet Salvatore and Bob Delaney, all members of the union's executive committee.

The New York Times first reported the tenative agreement between the two sides.

The source did not detail what concessions the officials made in their latest proposal, but the league had sought significant reductions in the referees' retirement packages and for the union to agree to allow, for the first time, the use of Development League and WNBA officials for NBA games.

The league had asked for reductions in the severance packages that officials who retire receive from the league. The NBA wants to eliminate severance checks that retiring officials receive in addition to the pensions they get from the NBA if those officials do not have 10 years of service, or for any new officials that are hired from this point forward. It seeks to reduce the severance amount for officials with more than 10 years of service. Currently, officials with 20 or more years of service can receive severance checks of up to $575,000. The referees are the only NBA employees that receive severance pay on top of their pensions.

The union had balked at this before, believing that the NBA was seeking the changes to force older officials to leave, without leaving itself vulnerable to age discrimination lawsuits.

The NBA had also asked that it be allowed to use D-League and WNBA officials during the first three months of the NBA regular season, for up to 75 assignments. Previously, D-League and WNBA referees worked the league's summer league schedule, but did not do NBA regular season games. Those officials would not be eligible to work NBA playoff games.

The league also wanted the referees to convert their existing pension plan to one that more resembled a traditional 401(k) retirement account, with vested referees that transferred their accounts able to contribute to them by deferring some of their salaries, the way that other NBA employees have their retirement accounts set up.

The two sides had already agreed to freeze officials' salaries for the 2009-10 season at their current levels, with a small increase for the 2010-11 season, along with cuts in the referees' per diem payments and travel budget. The union asked for a two-year deal instead of the usual five-year deal so that it might be able to get back some of its givebacks quicker if the economy brightens in the next 48 months.

An agreement would end the use of replacement officials that have worked every game of the preseason since the league locked out the regular officials on Sept. 18. The league tried to convince both fans and teams that these officials were much more prepared to referee at the NBA level than the replacement refs the league used the last time there was a referee lockout, early in the 1995-96 season. Those referees were roundly criticized by players and coaches alike.

The league backed up its refs this time with heavy fines. It docked Charlotte's Larry Brown $60,000 for verbally abusing officials and criticizing them afterward. Orlando's Stan Van Gundy was fined $35,000 and Memphis' Lionel Hollins was fined $25,000 for criticizing the officials as well.

10-20-2009, 08:46 PM
thank god

10-20-2009, 08:48 PM
thank god

Agreed, Thank Mark Blount.

10-20-2009, 09:26 PM
Best Thread EVER!

Good riddance to those crappy replacement refs.

10-20-2009, 09:44 PM
Thank God is right. Wow the number of fouls being called was ridiculous. I went to the Boston v Toronto game the other day and the number of offensive fouls slowed the game soo much.

Funny how $120, 000 worth of fines were dished out..just in the preseason too.

10-20-2009, 09:53 PM
people complain when the refs aren't calling fouls but when they are people still complain

I say give this new refs a chance

10-21-2009, 11:06 AM
people complain when the refs aren't calling fouls but when they are people still complain

I say give this new refs a chance

Apparently you haven't watched 5 minutes of a game this preseason, because that is all you need to understand how terrible they are

10-21-2009, 11:36 AM
when Grant Hill get ejected from a PRE-SEASON! game for arguing with officials, its time to bring back the real refs

10-21-2009, 11:44 AM
I don't think this will solve the problem. It might be the lesser of two evils right now, but this time next year we'll still be complaining about refs. Maybe after Joey Crawford ejects everyone from a game (including the fans), or when Bennet Salvatore awards Kobe Bryant, Lebron James or Dwyane Wade 50 free throws in a game, we'll remember just how bad the older guys were.

Don't forget, the number of foul calls in the play-offs was ridiculous as well. Specifically, I remember that the Lakers and Nuggets were routinely getting 30+ free throws in a game, and it was pretty normal to see a team shoot 35+.

The problem is, the NBA doesn't exactly try to attract younger refs to the game. You have to pay to go to their training center (in Arizona I think), then you have to pay a fee to get trained (around $500). That's not going to attract many recruits.

If the NBA started inviting people for training sessions, with travel and hotel costs covered, then maybe we'd start to see some younger, more alert officials. The whole system is broken, and the refs are going to be just as frustrating as they ever were.

How about we stop messing around with officiating crews in the play-offs as well (the NBA isn't the only league guilty of this). It's pretty stupid that once the play-offs start, a team of officials that has worked well all season gets broken up, and you have sort of all-star officiating crews.

Officials need chemistry just as much as a basketball team does! If a group of guys have never worked together before, don't throw them on the court at the most important time of the year!

Lo Porto
10-21-2009, 12:40 PM
I liked the new refs. They actually called the game the right way. If Grant Hill argued the call, he should have been "teched up". If he argued again, he should be tossed. Arguing calls is not supposed to be legal.

I'm tired of players complaining and screaming about every single foul. I liked how the replacements called the game the right way instead of the old way of letting stuff slide for certain players and letting everybody complain. The new refs could have been a great new era for basketball called the right way instead of this slow slide towards AND1 garbage.

I'm sad to see the old refs come back.

10-21-2009, 01:33 PM
Larry Brown will be happy

10-21-2009, 01:39 PM
that took longer than it needed to be but at least theres an agreement

10-21-2009, 06:58 PM
its hilarious how when the old refs were threatening to walk out all the ref haters were as happy as can be but just a couple games with the rep refs and you see just how much those old refs really did a decent job

stern shouldve handled this long before the preseason even began he needs to get it handled now