SBD/Issue 236/Leagues & Governing Bodies

NBA, Referees Reportedly Far Apart On New Deal For '09-10 Season

NBA Reportedly Proposing An Estimated 10%
Reduction To Overall Referee Budget
The NBA's current five-year contract with its referees expires next Tuesday and the sides "appear to be far apart on a new deal," according to sources cited by Marc Stein of ESPN.com. A source indicated that with the league "proposing an across-the-board reduction to the referee budget" of an estimated 10%, the "impasse might not be resolved before the start" of this season. However, another source questioned the referees' "willingness to hold out in a depressed economy if it reaches the point that the league threatens to impose a lockout." The source added that "one motivation for the NBA digging in could be demonstrating the hard-line approach that some owners favor in collective-bargaining talks with NBA players that began earlier this month." The proposed cuts are "believed to include reductions in travel costs, pension payouts and health benefits in addition to salary cuts." Stein noted it was "not immediately clear what sort of contingency plans would be triggered if the league and the officials can't strike a deal in time for the start of the exhibition season in October" (ESPN.com, 8/25).

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