Lead negotiator for referees pulls out of talks

BRIAN MAHONEY, AP Basketball Writer

The lead negotiator for the locked-out NBA referees removed himself
from the talks Monday in hopes of resolving a dispute that threatens to
have replacements on the floor this week.

Lamell McMorris released a statement saying the negotiations with the
NBA would be handled by general counsel Brian Lam and the executive
board of the National Basketball Referees Association.

McMorris said his departure was “in the best interest of the NBA Referees and the league.” He did not comment beyond his statement.

The contract between the league and its officials expired Sept. 1 and they have been unable to reach a new deal. The NBA held referees training camp with replacements over the weekend, and those officials could be on the court when preseason play begins Thursday with Denver’s game at Utah.

Negotiations have broken down at least twice, and the sides remain apart on the league’s proposed changes to the referees’ pension and severance packages, as well as a plan to develop younger officials.


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