Will the NBA have Replacement Refs this Season?

Busta BucketCorrespondent ISeptember 10, 2009

ORLANDO, FL - JUNE 14:  Head coach Stan Van Gundy of the Orlando Magic talks with referee Ken Mauer #41 during Game Five of the 2009 NBA Finals against the Los Angeles Lakers on June 14, 2009 at Amway Arena in Orlando, Florida. The Lakers won 99-86. NOTE TO USER:  User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

This week has been less than productive for the negotiations between the NBA and its referees. On Tuesday negotiations took a turn for the worst, according to ESPN:

The NBA's most recent contract with its 60-plus referees expired Sept. 1 and Tuesday's bargaining session in New York was called to an abrupt halt by commissioner David Stern, according to one source with knowledge of the talks.

Apparently the league wants a 10% reduction in the referees' $32 million budget while the officials are proposing a $2.5 million decrease. So they are about $700,000 off, sounds to me like this should get done.

Since the discussions on Tuesday there have been multiple opinions from both sides on the issue. Including the following from an interview Stern did with NBA TV on Tuesday night:

"I think it would be accurate to say that we had the meeting, that we didn't make any progress and that there are no future meetings scheduled."

Then of course Lamell McMorris, the spokesman for NBA referees had this to say about negotiations in an interview with the New York Times according to ESPN.com:

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"frustrated and disappointed at the unprofessional and disrespectful manner in which Mr. Stern ended what was a productive negotiating session" on Tuesday. McMorris also echoed the growing belief that Stern is taking a hard line with referees "to send a message to the players," whose own labor contract with the NBA expires during the 2010-11 season.

In a separate interview Stern denied that the referee talks had anything to do with future player negotiations.

Every single time I see or hear David Stern talk in an interview I get irritated. He always seems to have this air of invincibility like he feels everything he does is right and perfect.

I can picture him in the meeting getting frustrated and just shutting every thing down like a giant spoiled toddler who isn't getting his way.

I really hope a deal gets done, I'd rather not see what replacement referees are capable of doing to the game. Although, if they do a decent job of officiating and don't give in to star treatment, it might be a blessing in disguise!