This is great news. I felt the replacement refs stopped the flow of the games way too often by “calling it by the book.” 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.

Continue reading ‘BREAKING NEWS: Agreement reached with refs; refs could be back in time for season opener’

  • Chris Manning

    This is great news! Glad to see this.

  • Zen and Tonic

    I know the replacement refs changed some of the flow of the game, and they missed calls despite blowing their whistles like drum majors. But, I enjoyed not having the egomaniac regular officials back. They also miss calls and make a mockery of the game with their deference to stars. It isn’t an indictment on all of the group, just those who:
    !. Manage their total fouls by tagging subs with two because they took their warm-ups off.
    2. Rule with Pax Romana to show everyone who’s boss, while making the play on the court defer to THEIR style.
    3. Any of them who influence the game when they intentionally change their opinion of what they “allow” players to do. Why is the phrase, “they’re letting them play” a routine statement?

    Yep, I could have gotten used to letting the players re-learn how to play by a set of rules that are consistent. I know the Lakers could have adjusted. We don’t have any players who resort to a “crab dribble” to make up for their handles.

    This link is to a site that tracks team fouls.

    Try not to think of all the work Popovich and Timmy have to do to keep them with less calls against them, year after year, when you check it out.

  • Smush Walton

    I would have liked to see this strike used as an opportunity to get rid of some of the lousy refs. Fans don’t pay the big money to watch these refs go through their antics. Refs should be graded and the grades posted so everyone will know which ones are trash.

    One possible solution might be for each team to designate maybe three refs that they REFUSE to have them work any of their games. If the same ones are named by a large number of teams, maybe then some of garbage can be gotten rid of.