What's the only thing worse than Joey Crawford reffing a game?
ESPN's Marc Stein is reporting that the contract between the NBA referees and the NBA will expire on Sept. 1, and the two parties are quite some distance apart on a few matters, one such being a proposed ten percent cut on the budget allotted for officials.
As of now, according to one of Stein's sources, the refs ready to sit out the upcoming season. I believe that about as much as I bought the reports about Kobe's willingness to sit out the entire 2007-2008 season. The source also added that the league could be taking a hard line stance to set a tone for the CBA talks recently underway with the Player's Union. That I find kinda believable. (And man, would I love to be a fly on the wall during those meetings!)
While I'm guessing cooler heads will eventually prevail, should I end up wrong, Whoa Nellie, we could be treated to some poorly governed roundball next season. I don't care how convinced you are that every ref in the league sucks... is blind... thinks the crowd is there to see Joey Crawford... hates Kobe... hates the Lakers (except LO, of course)... craves power... Fears Uncle Dave... isn't as funny as Denis Leary, etc., I guarantee the substitutes will be far worse. Believe me. You DO NOT want to go there. As Homer Simpson would put it, Holy crap on a crud! I'll give you just one example. If you think LeBron or D.Wade get every call now, wait until they're playing in front of three slack-jawed yokels either completely intimidated or trying to figure out the protocol involved with asking for a post-game autograph.Ironically, the league might actually need the services of an experienced veteran unbound by any union ties like Tim Donaghy... and he may not even be available.
Photo: Joey Crawford annoys Laker guard Derek Fisher. Credit: Lisa Blumenfeld/Getty Images North America)