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NBA AND REFEREES AGREE THAT A LOCKOUT LOOKS MORE LIKELY

Basketball

NEW YORK - The lead negotiator and spokesman for the NBA's referees union said Thursday that a lockout appears "imminent and unavoidable" after the latest breakdown in talks.

Lamell McMorris said the officials made another $1 million in concessions in their proposal, but "It's become evident that the league would not be interested in continuing conversation at this time," McMorris said as negotiators left Chicago.

The NBA had a similarly pessimistic view. "I'm not going to handicap it, other than to say there's always time to make an agreement if the parties want to do that," NBA lead negotiator Rick Buchanan said. "I'm not optimistic based on what happened (Thursday)."

The contract between the league and its officials expired Sept. 1, and the sides have been trying to reach a new two-year deal. McMorris said they largely agree on salaries, but the union has balked at the league's attempt to change retirement benefits.

More NBA:The Heat will retire former guard Tim Hardaway's No. 10 jersey in a ceremony Oct. 28. ... Free-agent swingman Desmond Mason, 31, signed a one-year, $1.18 million deal with the Kings. ... The Timberwolves signed shooting guard Sasha Pavlovic to a one-year deal. ... Celtics co-owner Stephen Pagliuca announced his bid for the Democratic nomination to succeed the late Ted Kennedy as senator in Massachusetts. ... Forward Juwan Howard, 36, signed a one-year deal with the Blazers.

European championships: Spain beat France 86-66, and Serbia upset Russia 79-68 in Katowice, Poland, to advance to the semifinals.

Soccer

European clubs report big financial losses

Almost a quarter of Europe's top division soccer clubs reported major financial losses last year, UEFA said, with a third of the teams in the English Premier League losing at least 20 percent of income.

UEFA secretary general David Taylor warned a conference on financial responsibility in sport that more red ink is expected this year. Of the top leagues in the world, the Premier League was in the worst position when it came to the number of clubs with major losses. Only Romania, Ukraine, the Czech Republic and Poland had more clubs losing money among Europe's 53 federations. Across Europe, barely half of the teams break even or make a profit.

ET CETERA

Bowling:Dick Hoover, one of the original members of the Professional Bowlers Association formed in 1958, died in Akron, Ohio. He was 79.

Boxing: Four-time champion Acelino "Popo" Freitas denied involvement in the murder of his niece's boyfriend. Freitas, 23, said he didn't approve of the relationship the man had with his 17-year-old niece and acknowledged that he talked to him the day of the murder. But Freitas told media in Brazil that he did not order his killing. He has been interrogated by police, who have not formally accused the boxer.

Mixed martial Arts:Russian Fedor Emelianenko's fight against Brett Rogers on Nov. 7 will be shown live on CBS, the first time the sport will be on network TV since last year.

Times wires

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