PHILADELPHIA -- After the first weekend of the playoffs included several officiating issues, NBA commissioner David Stern said he envisions the league going to an NFL-style replay system to reduce controversies in the future.
With several long-term issues more pressing -- including new collective bargaining agreements with both the players and the referees unions -- Stern doesn't think replay expansion will be in place by next season. But Stern thinks the technology, and perhaps even the challenge flags, are coming.
"Eventually we have to get to something where you may have someone sitting at the desk," Stern said before the Miami Heat played the Philadelphia 76ers in Game 3 of their first-round series.
"Rather than having a Talmudic discussion between the referees [on replays] you might have one person whose job it is to keep the earphones on and always watch. And you might let a coach drop the flag in the last two minutes."
Last weekend there were several hotly debated calls in the final minute of games that put a spotlight on the officiating. The league issued a statement that officials in Game 1 of the Denver Nuggets-Oklahoma City Thunder series missed a key offensive goaltending call.
"The capturing of the picture is so precise that you now know going through the game what the call should've been," Stern said. "Do we stop the game every time? I don't think so, but there are going to be improvements made over the course of time that are going to eliminate a lot of the controversy."
This season has been a transitional year for NBA officials with several of the league's most experienced officials retiring or leaving the job over the last two seasons. Several younger officials have been promoted to work playoff games and become crew chiefs.
Over the last several seasons the league has continually expanded replay usage to include late-game out-of-bounds calls.
"We have to find a way to speed the game up and get it right, that is the most important thing," Stern said. "We have humans that officiate our games and they don't catch everything, but I believe they are the best at what they do."