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Kenyon Martin: Games With Replacement Refs Will Be 'Terrible'

Sep 29, 2009 – 11:00 PM
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Chris Tomasson

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Kenyon MartinDENVER -- Kenyon Martin can joke a little about replacement officials. Overall, though, he doesn't think it's too funny.

In an interview with FanHouse, Martin said he believes games will be "terrible'' with the replacements.

"I joked the other day with [Tim Grgurich] and Jamahl Mosley,'' the Denver Nuggets feisty forward said about talking to a pair of assistant coaches. "I'm going to get suspended in the first month of the season. I'm going to have 15 technicals in the first month just for the simple fact [replacement officials] don't know how I run my mouth. They don't know how I approach the game.''

They might find out in a hurry. Martin and his Nuggets play Thursday at Utah in the NBA preseason opener and first game using replacement referees.

Martin isn't too happy the NBA hasn't been able to reach an agreement with officials over a new contract. With officials not agreeing to some monetary concessions, the league has locked them out and brought in replacements.

"If they want the extra benefits, I don't know why they can't get it,'' Martin said. "Give [the officials that] in order to keep the game the same way. Because the game is going to be terrible with those replacements.

"It will be terrible. I believe guys will get more technicals. But that's probably what [the NBA is] looking for, more money. There are going to be more ejections. Tempers are going to be even worse. Attitudes are going to be even worse.''

Kenyon MartinMartin was told the NBA donates money from fines to charities so the league wouldn't make more money off technicals and ejections. But that didn't slow down Martin.

"It's going to be pretty bad,'' Martin said of NBA games. "The replacement refs, there's no way they're used to the pace of the game. ... The guys, except the rookies, they know the guys [in the NBA]. They know how to call the game if I'm playing, if Chauncey [Billups, a Denver guard] is playing, if [Allen Iverson, a Memphis guard] is playing. They know because we've been around.

"They know how we can talk to certain refs. Certain guys know me. I don't mean no harm sometimes. I might get out of line sometimes. But, for the most part, I get a little leeway. But with the [replacement officials], I don't have that leeway. ... You know how you can approach certain refs, what you can say to certain refs.''

Despite any leeway, Martin has incurred many fines, ejections and suspensions over his nine-year career. He had 10 technicals last season, five shy of the number that results in a one-game suspension.

Teammate Carmelo Anthony reached 15 last season, but NBA rules did not call for a suspension because No. 15 came in Denver's final regular-season game. But Anthony isn't worried about replacement officials.``To me, I think the players should just, at least in the first four to six games, not worry about it and just play through it."
- George Karl


"It's refs,'' Anthony said. "They'll learn the game. They watch films. Some refs, they've reffed [the NBA] game before. We got to play. They got to ref.''

Nuggets coach George Karl also isn't getting too bent out of shape about the replacements.

"I think there will be just more emotion in the game, more verbal confrontation of calls,'' Karl said. "To me, I think the players should just, at least in the first four to six games, not worry about it and just play through it. Understand we'll get good whistles and we'll probably get some bad whistles. ... Coaches think refereeing is bad no matter how good it is.''

Karl sees a positive in that some replacements who do well later could become regular officials. Still, he's hoping "sooner than later we'll have the first-class guys back in the league.''

Until then, Nuggets guard Anthony Carter believes there could be some rough patches.

Follow NBA FanHouse "It's always going to be tough when you have a whole new set of refs,'' Carter said. "The other refs kind of know what other players do and what their moves are. Who's flopping? It's going to be a big challenge for them. ... They're going to be cursed out a little bit. They just have to have thick skin. They're going to miss calls, and we're going to be complaining. But that's part of the job.''

Martin sure is complaining. He's pointing a finger at NBA commissioner David Stern to get the lockout settled.

"To get [the officials] back, it's ain't on nobody else,'' Martin said. "It's on David Stern to get it done. Ain't nobody else but on him to get it done.''

Chris Tomasson can be reached at tomasson@fanhouse.com.
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