The story appears on

Page B13

September 19, 2009

GET this page in PDF

Free for subscribers

View shopping cart

Related News

Home » Sports » Basketball

Negotiations flop as NBA lockout appears 'imminent'

THE lead negotiator and spokesman for the NBA's referees union said a lockout appears "imminent and unavoidable" following the latest breakdown in talks on Thursday.

Lamell McMorris said the officials made another US$1 million in concessions in their proposal, but believes it's evident the league is not interested in further discussions. The officials then headed home after spending the last 24 hours meeting in Chicago.

"It's become evident that the league would not be interested in continuing conversation at this time," McMorris said.

The NBA had a similarly pessimistic view. "I'm not going to handicap it, other than to say there's always time to make an agreement if the parties want to do that," NBA lead negotiator Rick Buchanan said. "I'm not optimistic based on what happened today. We'll just have to see what happens."

The contract between the NBA and its officials expired on September 1 and the sides have been trying to reach a new two-year deal. McMorris said they largely agree on salaries, but the union has balked at the league's attempt to change retirement benefits.

Besides the severance and pension disagreements, the officials are resisting a league development plan for young officials. Without a new deal, replacement officials will be used when preseason play opens on October 1. The NBA last began a season without its regular referees in 1995-96, when the caliber of officiating was roundly criticized.

"We're prepared to be locked out by the NBA but also remain open to ongoing dialogue," McMorris said, adding that negotiations have been difficult because the league "has made pretty clear they have a goal they are trying to achieve as it relates to these long-term benefits."

All 57 active referees unanimously rejected a proposal the league made earlier that day. McMorris said the officials reconvened to finalize the counterproposal they made to the league. He previously said the officials, sensitive to the financial difficulties the league is facing, agreed to US$2.5 million in concessions, but the league sought further cuts in areas such as the travel budget and per diems. Commissioner David Stern said the goal was to bring the referees' budget in line with other departments.


Copyright © 1999- Shanghai Daily. All rights reserved.Preferably viewed with Internet Explorer 8 or newer browsers.

沪公网安备 31010602000204号

Email this to your friend