Official: 'Ref Lockout Unavoidable'
Ref training camp was supposed to begin Sunday in Chicago. At this point, the league is expected to instead use D-League and WNBA refs once the preseason begins October 1.
Howard Beck's Times story also reveals (via anonymous sources) some details of the rejected NBA offer not previously disseminated, particularly the slice of the proposal which McMorris had recently told FanHouse would effectively push out veteran referees. Beck reports the league has asked for a reduction in the typical severance paid to referees older than 55. This would go into effect after the 2010-11 season, effectively creating an incentive for the numerous officials older than 55 to retire after one more season.
The fat lady hasn't sung -- we still have almost two weeks until the preseason opener between the Jazz and Nuggets, and some 39 days before the beginning of the regular season. But I think I hear someone warming up in the dressing room. And she sounds hungry. To all the cynics who think replacement refs won't matter ... just you wait. Dick Bavetta will never have more fans in Denver and Salt Lake than he will on the morning of October 2.