Stern Happy With Backup Refs, Ready For Regular Staffing

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NEW YORK (AP) - David Stern is pleased with the performance of his replacement referees, though hoping his regular staff is ready to come back to work.

The NBA's referees union will vote Friday night on a contract proposal from the league. If they accept, as expected, the officials will be back in time for the opening of the regular season Tuesday night.

Stern rejoined the negotiations this week at the request of the referees in hopes of getting a deal done.

The league has used replacements, mostly from the NBA Development League and WNBA, during the lockout. Stern said the 62 backups have "responded very well" and predicted that many would referee NBA games again.