Latest News, NBA / Sep 21, 2009 / 2:45 pm

The Biggest NBA Story That Nobody Is Talking About

Dick Bavetta

Of all the refs in the NBA, Dick Bavetta is by far my favorite. And not just because he almost beat Charles Barkley in a foot race. But because in his 34 NBA seasons, since 1975, he has never missed an assigned game. Unfortunately for Dick, he may be watching the start of the season this year from his couch at home.

While the threat of a lockout has been on the table for a minute, the NBA announced Friday that they will be holding training camp this week with replacement officials after the referees union, the National Basketball Referees Association, rejected the League’s final contract offer.

“It is extremely disappointing that the NBRA has ignored the economic realities, rejected our offer, and left us with no choice but to begin using replacement referees,” executive vice president and general counsel Rick Buchanan said.

“The proposals we have made to the NBRA are extraordinarily fair and reasonable, given the current economic circumstances. Since late 2008, the league and our teams have made far deeper cuts in non-referee headcount and expenses than we are asking for here.”

With the first preseason game scheduled for October 1 in Utah, the training camp isn’t going to be bringing refs off the streets, but rather pulling them from the D-League, WNBA and the college ranks. While this doesn’t seem that crazy, the NBA hasn’t used replacement refs since early in the 1995-96 season.

With the current economic climate, it seems everyone (including players), are taking pay cuts these days, and according to the NBA, the new deal would have held salaries steady this year and given the refs a slight increase next season, while making some changes to retirement benefits.

The NBA’s statement said the previous deal gave the referees retirement bonuses of up to $575,000, on top of pension benefits that could exceed $2 million. It said that came on top of compensation totaling nearly $150,000 per year for entry level referees and more than $550,000 annually for the most senior referees.

While it’s hard to comment on someone else’s way of life, especially when unions are involved, I’d say the refs should just sign the deal. How many guys in the NBA had to settle this summer for the veteran’s minimum? A bunch. And it was either that or play in the Ukraine. The fact is that with the economy the way it is, signing a two-year deal until things get better won’t be the worst thing in the world.

What do you think?

Source: NBA.com

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  • Coop

    Bavetta is an asshat.

  • Prof. TX

    The ref’s need to get out of the spotlight for a while. They are getting way too much attention in recent years and beginning to think the game is about them. They are not the stars, and need to be alot less visible.

    Violet Palmer could probably benefit from that D-League ref training camp, learn a little about the rules. Joey Crawford should be shipped to the Euro-leagues for one of those draft picks that never shows up.

  • http://www.in_n_outnba.blogspot.com Lucas

    I don’t know this is a sticky situation… I’m just worried about the 2 refs they fired then rehired this year…. Will we see a significant difference?

  • karizmatic

    I was wondering when someone would talk about this issue…it’s probably because no one really cares…I’m not going to care if I don’t see Bavetta or Crawford or any of those guys reffing the game…although it does give a certain sense of calm during the playoffs to see the guys you know are professional.

  • dmitry of jersey

    no one is talking about this bc so many NBA refs are terrible. who cares if the league uses DLeague or college refs.. I doubt they can be any worse. In fact, they may be better since they won’t be buddy-buddy with all the star players.

  • sh!tfaced

    bring back tim donaghy!

  • Yoooo

    Damn they getting paid… Shut the hell up and blow ur whistle. Getting to travel all over and I’m SURE they get stipends so they dont pay for anything. They must be nuts.

    I wish somebody would pay me that much to be anonymous and blow a whistle

  • Jimbo

    Ain’t no doubt ya’ll that this ain’t nuttin of a situation. Just be replacin’ them refs with ‘nother set of uglyass mofos – ain’t gonna be makin no differnce which uglyass face we gotsa to be lookin at yo.

    True thugs NEVER lie.
    The Real Tyrone

  • jzsmoove

    Who gets to fine the League for discussing the matter in public and taking this to the media?

  • sh!tfaced

    Jimbo? You going bipolar like Delonte, Tyrone?

  • The REAL Tyrone

    Imma so sick of y’all who be impersonantin me. “Jimbo” be a loserass punk who ain’t got no identitty himself and be talkin about them other cats. That shit ain’t right yo – y’all be lucky y’all ain’t ar0und me.

    True thugs NEVER lie.
    The Real Tyrone

  • doc

    Refs want a piece of the pie too.

  • Sanssasin

    as a fan i want a piece of the pie! drop the damn ticket prices!

    pretty damn greedy and not very pr savvy to be pulling this stuff while we are in a recession. people worried daily about their jobs and here the nba refs are wanting more. to hell with ‘em.

  • AK47

    The NBA try to make it sound like they’re being generous and everything but I’d like to hear the refs’ point of view about the deal. I’m sure there’s something hidden there.

  • Sanssasin

    “With the current economic climate, it seems everyone (including players), are taking pay cuts these days”

    everything is taking a cut ‘cept ticket prices!

  • yeah right

    Everybody has been talking about that for a week or two, Dime just ignored it thus far for no apparent reason, rather putting up dumb ass 5 players who will do this or that lists

  • Jimbo

    Naw meen!

    True thugs NEVER lie.
    The Real Tyrone

  • http://dimemag.com Dime Magazine

    @yeah right

    Haha. We haven’t been ignoring it, we’ve been talking about it in Smack. But it really hasn’t been much until the NBA actually invited other refs for training camp. And by “story that nobody is talking about,” I mean the ramifications of a lockout: bad press, poorly officiated games, no Dick Bavetta…


  • Chaos

    Alot of these refs have experience yes, but they have also develoepd relationships with the players (whether good or bad) that really undermines the integrity of the game since refs are supposed to be impartial anyway. also, alot of these guys have been reffing waaay to f*ckin long and are old as shit with dulled senses, yes that means bavettas old ass. anyway, some younger fresher guys might do some good for the league and get the whole ref issue out the spotlight. they have been getting a lot of negative press (more than just from the fans and players) and alot of the criticism is deserved. but it goes the other way cuz the lack of experiences or changes in the game from HS, College and Euroleague because the refs are probably told or taught to look for different things (like a crab dribble)

  • Templeton

    i like Dick Bavetta, and i want him to get a fatass retirement bonus. But refs are honetly horrible. Every single ref gives Lebron james the benefit of the doubt. Ridiculous.

  • LakeShow84

    Bout time they brought in some new blood!!

    How is a ref going to actually try to PICK A FIGHT with a player and only get a suspension?? Dude EMBARASSED the NBA right there.. and now when you watch his crew call a Spurs game you see the others members of his crew calling BULLSHIT..

    And like i been saying.. WHAT IS THE AGE LIMIT?? Shouldnt someone tell Dick to go enjoy life?? Dude couldnt even outrun the blob and hes expected to keep up with 4.6,4.8 athletes??

    Negroid please..

  • aL

    All refs are on lebron james’ dick

    & at the Real Tyrone. you gotta stop writing that “True thugs never lie,” quote, you look retarded. Seriously buddy, if you were a thug you wouldn’t even have a computer, and certainly wouldn’t have the time of day & night to comment on evry DIME article

  • Sanssasin

    can the nba initiate something like instant replay to make sure they get the right call?

    some of the stuff they call is ridiculous and they are not even held accountable. no one can talk bad about them without getting fined.

    we had an nba ref scandal and stern wants us to accept the calls by refs??? wtf? ’til there is a way to put refs and the stuff they call in check, the nba will be battling the whole “ref” thing for a long long time.

    as far as the “replacement” refs. bring ‘em on. maybe they can bring some purity back to the sport. i am excited for them.

    we all know some of the refs favor athletes. bavetta rode jordan’s nuts every game.

  • http://dimemag.com Pakman

    first i’d like to hear NBRA point of view
    alright then $150,000 per year for entry level referees wtf…wow and $550,000 annually for the most senior referees. how the fuck do you not sign that shit,getting paid six digits for a fuckin ref…and on top of that NBRA thinks they deserve more, i mean do you even have to go to college to have a career in reffing the NBA??? ungrateful mofos

  • VictorJ

    How can anyone take some of these comments seriously when they have to pepper the language?
    The referees are not being greedy and are okay with pay freezes. They don’t want benefits such as per diem and travel to be reduced to levels of those NBA employees who don’t have to travel as much as their jobs require. I side with the referees on this one. And if you have a problem with NBA referees (always funny how some can criticize when they have NO knowledge of what it takes to officiate or every single rule), just wait till replacements are here.

  • 808

    “They don’t want benefits such as per diem and travel to be reduced to levels of those NBA employees who don’t have to travel as much as their jobs require.”

    Is this really the position of the refs? That they are refusing to sign the contract because of reduced per diems? What are their per diems like now??? What are they being reduced to??

    I doubt that this is the issue here, VictorJ. But if it is, it’s a pretty stupid one. Almost everyone in America that I know of is taking a pay cut because of “this economic condition.” Shoot, I’m taking an 8% one for the next two years starting tomorrow! The refs are taking ZERO pay cuts but are holding out due to a reduced per diem??? Give me a effing break…Maybe their union bosses should realize that these refs aren’t the stars of the show here, and that staying at something less than luxury hotels really isn’t that bad…

  • schoops

    Victor: If the way games have been called is the BEST these refs can do, then I say F*CK it, forget the refs and players can call their own fouls. Frankly I hope these refs never come back. They are so entrenched in the nba establishment that I can shoot off like 10 ref’s names. I shouldn’t be able to name an nba ref, yet they think they’re why I pay for my ticket, to come see them.

    They are terrible. 65 year old men cannot keep up to speed with the biggest, strongest athletes in the world. Good riddance.

  • http://www.nukedasouth.net Chicagorilla

    I just came to the realization that The Real Tyrone is fake. That’s more disturbing than the refs not wanting to work.

    The refs are only a part of the game, much the same as the basketball, the rim, the shoes, the shot clock, and the scoreboard. the players on the other hand, ARE the game. For them to think they deserve more money is out right greedy. They are easily replaceable with quality refs.

  • MSmith