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Volume 24 No. 117
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     The NBA met with representatives of its locked-out referees
association for more than three hours yesterday, but "little
progress was made" toward reaching a new CBA. Jeffrey Miskin, the
NBA's Senior VP/Legal and Business Affairs and league negotiator,
said the two sides "remain very far apart on the economic
issues."  No new meetings were announced (HOUSTON CHRONICLE,
10/13). As the exhibition season began, replacement referees were
used.  In Houston, Eddie Sefko writes the "backup players" used
during the Rockets/Spurs games were "a lot better than the backup
referees."  Sefko: "Judging by the preseason opener, the league
ought to up their offer or some coaches and more than a few
players are going to go nuts."  Longtime veteran Charles Jones:
"They didn't have a clue. ... I think the league ought to lock
these guys out, too" (HOUSTON CHRONICLE, 10/13).
     GOOD DEAL? SI's "Scorecard" notes the effect the new rookie
salary cap is having on contract negotiations: "No whining. No
griping. No shouted ultimatums. Can the NBA season be approaching
this quietly?"  Last year at this time four of the top 10 NBA
draft picks were still unsigned and 11 of the 27 overall were
holding out.  This year with the wage scale, all 29 first round
picks are signed. By "giving headstrong rookies and tightfisted
owners little to argue about, the NBA has administered a giant
aspirin to an annual headache" ("Scorecard," SPORTS ILLUSTRATED,
10/16 issue).