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NBA AND REFS REPORTEDLY INCH CLOSER TO A DEAL
Published November 16, 1995
Three regular NBA refs worked the Raptors-Rockets game at SkyDome last night, the result of a ruling by Ontario's Labour Relations Board disallowing the use of replacement refs in the province. But, as Bill Harris of the TORONTO SUN reports, while two-man replacement crews continue to work in other NBA cities, "that might not be the case much longer." Mike Mathis, the chief negotiator for the refs, said after three hours of talks with NBA officials yesterday, the officials "could have a deal with the league as early as tomorrow." Mathis: "We're encouraged." But NBA Senior VP/Legal & Business Affairs Jeffrey Mishkin is cautious: "It's too early to say whether or not we are making any progress" (TORONTO SUN, 11/16). NBRA General Counsel Fred Slaughter: "I would say I'm optimistic, and anyone who knows me, knows that that's big" (Dwain Price, FT. WORTH STAR-TELEGRAM, 11/16). The refs are seeking annual salary increases of 19% to 20% over a three-year contract, while the league's latest offer is an average annual increase of 8.7% over five years. That includes an immediate 17% increase this year. The refs still claim the NBA's Tuesday proposal leaves a gap of $3,000 to $34,000 between NBA and NHL refs (AP/PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER, 11/16).