At least one union has settled their differences with the NBA and reached a deal. The referees and the league came to an agreement on a five-year deal on Thursday that will head off the possibility of a double lockout for the NBA. Owners ratified the deal later on Thursday.
Two years ago the league locked out the referees on September 18, just two weeks before the regular season was to begin. The league used replacement officials to call all of the preseason games, a decision that was met with dissatisfaction by coaches and players, before coming to a two-year agreement with the National Basketball Referees Association in time for the start of the regular season.
In a report by the Associated Press, Lee Seham, general counsel of the NBRA, was quoted as saying, “We did not get everything we wanted, but given the current economic climate and the continuing players’ lockout, we are satisfied that this deal was in the best interests of our members.”
The referees voted to approve the deal last week but had to wait for approval from the owners as they met in Dallas on Thursday. Details of the contract were not released.
With one labor dispute resolved, the NBA must now come to terms with the players. However, the current state of negotiations appear to have taken a turn for the worse. Hard line owners are, allegedly, still holding out in an effort to pry as much as they can away from the players and Billy Hunter, the head of the National Basketball Players Association, has warned players to expect to miss at least half of the upcoming season.