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Sources: Ref agreement closer

Updated: October 21, 2009, 3:15 PM ET
By Marc Stein | ESPN.com

The NBA's locked-out referees are on the verge of a return to work next week after an unexpected meeting Tuesday in New York headlined by commissioner David Stern and Lamell McMorris of the referees' union has led to a tentative labor agreement.

Sources close to the process told ESPN.com that the referees are scheduled to vote on the latest proposed agreement Friday after the sudden progress in negotiations, which comes weeks after both Stern and McMorris separately withdrew from the oft-contentious ...

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