NBA, REFEREES SCHEDULE NEGOTIATING SESSION FOR TOMORROW
The NBA and its referees, who have been locked out since
October 1 over salary differences, have scheduled a negotiating
session for tomorrow, according to Phil Jasner of the
PHILADELPHIA DAILY NEWS. The NBA claims to have offered a five-
year contract that would make the officials the highest paid in
pro sports, but the refs deny that citing a comparison with the
NHL. Mike Mathis, lead negotiator for the referees union,
acknowledges that under the NBA's proposal, the most experienced
refs would earn more than their NHL counterparts. But Mathis
also claims most of his colleagues would be earning $32,000-
40,000 less. NBA Senior VP Jeffrey Mishkin claims Mathis is
basing his figures on Canadian dollars. Mishkin, on the refs'
request for 20% hikes in each year of a three-year deal: "We
also have the best marketing people in the world, the best
licensing people. They're getting 6 percent raises. We're
offering an average of 7.5 percent over five years, with an
initial raise of 15 percent" (PHILA. DAILY NEWS, 11/14).
ENTER EASY DAVE: Commissioner David Stern "actually may
partake" in the New York meeting, according to Peter Vecsey.
Stern, who vowed to get a deal this week: "I don't call myself
Easy David for nothing. I'm always prepared to give away some
more of the owners' money." Mathis, whom Vecsey reports is
battling a "potential breakaway faction" within the union as well
as the league, views any Stern involvement as a "positive" (N.Y.
POST, 11/14). Mathis: "If I see David Stern, then I'll have a
much better feeling that they're ready to make a deal" (N.Y.
"CRISIS" POINT? In Toronto, Bill Harris writes the NBA has
officially reached a "crisis stage" over the performance of the
replacement refs. He reports there is a group of owners "at the
breaking point, pressuring the NBA to get a deal done soon"
(TORONTO SUN, 11/14). Charles Barkley kept up his criticism of
the replacements: "They've got to get off their ass up there in
New York and get it done ... They're fighting over hundreds of
thousands of dollars, maybe even a couple of million. The NBA is
a billion dollar business and it's not fair" ("SportsCenter,"