Refs lockout next?

Let’s suppose for a second that the NBA and its players each experience the proverbial ‘Come to Jesus’ moment in the next week or so and agree on a new Collective Bargaining Agreement. The 2011-12 season would then start on time, right?

Well, yes, it would. But it also could well start with plenty of unfamiliar faces on the floor. That’s because a big part of the NBA “game presentation” as David Stern likes to call it is, at present, also without a contract for next season.

That would be the 60 NBA referees.

In a ‘here we go again,’ situation, the referees’ CBA with the league expired eight days ago (on Sept. 1.) While the league says the two sides are still talking – there has been nothing for public consumption from the referees’ side for months – there is no deal and another lockout is possible.

If you are scratching your head over this one, here’s why: we went through this two years ago with the officials. Their contract expired on Sept. 1, 2009. They continued to negotiate into mid-September. On Sept. 18, the league announced it was locking out the referees and replacement officials were used for the exhibition season.

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