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Volume 24 No. 117
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     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,