Sometimes, there's more than meets the eye in a contract negotiations.
The NBA and its referees remain stuck in talks about a new collective-bargaining agreement, and it's true, as we mentioned yesterday, that the distance between the sides in terms of actual pay for the refs isn't that great.
It'll likely be covered in timely fashion.
But as usual, there are details that don't involve how much the refs actually will make in salary. The league is hoping to trim ancillary retirement stipends and tweak the pension package of refs.
That's a pretty significant amount of compensation that has to be ironed out.
In addition, the number of D-League refs that are used during portions of the season to get them NBA ready also is open to discussion.
Those three issues will have to be settled before there's a final agreement and those will be far more problematic than the actual pay for the present-day refs.
Still, most observers expect an agreement sometime in the next month or so. If replacement refs are used in the regular season, it will be a bit of a shocker. But stranger stuff has happened.