NBA refs locked out, what will it mean to the Bulls?


NBA referees expected a lockout to be "imminent" after negotiations
Wednesday between their union and the league failed to produce a new
collective agreement.

After rejecting the league's latest offer
by a vote of 57-0 at their meeting in Chicago on Wednesday night, the
union and league exchanged further counterproposals Thursday, with the
union claiming to have made $1 million in additional financial

First, I have to say that it takes a lot of balls for the NBA refs to not concede to the NBA's demands whatever they are.   Especially if things are close.   First, you're a ref.   Regardless of what type of education you had going out of school, unless you've been working full time in some other profession and reffing part time, then you're not going to have any practical job experience.

Next, it's a terrible economy where high paying jobs aren't overly plentiful, and refs make considerable salaries.   According to the powers of google:

National Basketball Association (NBA) referees earn anywhere from $90,000 to $225,000 for their hard work.

I have a hard time envisioning that ref making 200 grand a year finding a job where he makes 200 grand a year when he's got 20 years of experience being a ref and nothing else.   If he can, then let me know where those jobs are.

This isn't to say I blame the refs or feel they're being unreasonable.  I have no idea over what particulars they're fighting over, but the NBA is losing money big time.  They're laying off workers all over the place, and the refs are making a crapload of money with no way to replace it.   They may not be wrong in their demands, but they've definitely got some serious balls if they lockout the season.

Between this and next year's possible lockout, the NBA could be in an NHL like situation where the owners, players and refs hurt the league so much that they ultimately kill themselves in the process by shrinking the total pot of money available by such a large amount that everyone is screwed. 

So, how does this effect the Bulls?   This is purely theoretical, but you have to think replacement refs are going to help out superstars and home teams.   There's considerable pressure and anxiety when these superstar guys are screaming in your face, and the inexperienced refs are for more likely to be biased than the experienced ones in my opinion.

I also think that more so than anything else, the refs may call the games a little looser.  I think you get less blame for missing a call than you do for making a bad call.  I think this could result in a bonus for nastier defensive teams.

So how does this fit with the Bulls?   Probably not so well.  

First, the Bulls don't have a superstar to get that extra benefit of the doubt that already has his status permeated throughout the new refs minds.   Second, the Bulls aren't a big strong physical team to benefit from playing tougher defense.

There is one shining light in the potential bias of bad officiating and that's the Bulls home crowd.   Say what you want about the UC being quiet as a grave, but the Bulls typically pack the house, and a louder crowd might be able to sway a nervous ref more so than a quiet one.  The Bulls aren't the loudest arena, but it's not half empty like a lot of them.

All in all, bad officiating probably helps the better teams and hurts the worse teams.  I'd expect a rich get richer and poor get poorer type of response if this comes to pass.   Given the wide range in expected achievement for the Bulls, they could end up on either side of that battle.



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  • As a non-nba ref who does high school and college....the NBA is in trouble here. There are not enough good refs in the NBA as it is. They have trouble filling the spots they have because of the lack of talent that is coming up from college ball. Putting in replacements will be ugly to watch. College ball is very different than NBA ball; the above the rim play every night, the players being the focus as opposed to the coaches, etc, etc.

  • Based on what I have heard (ESPN); the main issue is not direct cash but benefits (indirect cash). According to PTI, the refs are willing to take less direct cash but there seems to be something that the NBA want to do with benefits (ESPN did not elaborate) that does not please the refs. It would be nice to know the details so one could make a better assessment of which side is unreasonable.

  • after all of the scandels with so many refs being blamed for rigging games im glad their striking aslong as they lose the strike. I'd much rather see some fresh blood in there because I hate the unions having monopolies and holding it over the leagues head (nomader what sport). I've seen so many bad calls that I don't see in other sports near as much (i know that basketball is a much more difficult game to ref but some of it is just inexcusable the amount of bad calls are made) I remember during the playoffs where after 2 fights broke out they called every little ticky tack call on the planet so it made it no fun to watch half of the playoff games. There are also alot of teams where the home refs are horrible (Utah comes to mind but im not singling them out) I'm eager to see new refs even if their inexperienced instead of the questionable refs we have now. I'm sick of hearing about them taking bribes and all the times that chicago players got fouled during the playoffs and nothing was called during the Celt series. So strike on refs, you've made me very happy today..

  • I heard it a year ago when one ref threatened to expose all of the rest of the refs in the league if he was indited, he claimed that the sports book makers were in on it and that many refs in the league were too. I didn't really hear much about it afterwords, idk if they settled the whole issue out of court or what.... But besides that, don't you think that football refs are of a much higher caliber then our NBA refs? it sure seems so anyway...

  • In reply to Matthew:

    oh btw the one ref obviuosly was already being investigated for rigging games

  • In reply to Matthew:

    "Former NBA referee Tim Donaghy pled guilty to federal felony conspiracy charges alleging that he passed along inside information on NBA games.
    Donaghy also alleges that referees helped alter the outcomes of games during the '02 and '05 postseasons."

  • In reply to Matthew:

    "Donaghy also had sought to make amends by revealing "the good, the bad and the ugly" about the league's officiating, the attorney added.
    During the NBA Finals, Donaghy said in a court filing that the league routinely encouraged refs to ring up bogus fouls to manipulate results, while discouraging them from calling technical fouls on star players."

  • In reply to Matthew:

    theres the link if your intrested, i've heard a few stories like this but not as big and involving so many people, (stern has to address this major issue)

  • In reply to Matthew:

    I also heard that a ref was just getting out of prison like 3 months ago or something and he was going to write a book about the scandals (also heard that he got threatened in prison that if he spilled the beans in the book he'd be killed, yes i know sounds like a stretch)but after he got out of jail i heard he went back in because he violated his probation....can't find the link to that one though...

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