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NBA promotes ref Phillips to run replay center

The NBA has promoted one of its most experienced referees, Jason Phillips, to run its replay center, the league announced Friday.

Phillips replaces veteran executive Joe Borgia, who is transitioning to a role overseeing the implementation of the new coach’s challenge for the upcoming season.

It is part of an expansion of the league’s replay system. This week the NBA’s board of governors approved a one-year trial of in-game challenges from coaches, similar to what is used in both the NFL and Major League Baseball.

Coaches will be able to challenge one call per game, including fouls, goaltending or out of bounds. In addition, the league approved increase use of reviews that can be triggered from the replay center in Secaucus, New Jersey.

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“We see this as a win-win and part of our leadership succession process,” said Byron Spruell, the NBA’s president of league operations. “The coaches’ challenge a significant initiative and we can have Joe focus on that while he helps Jason with the transition. Joe brings a lot of experience and knowledge and there will be some sticky scenarios with the coaches’ challenge.”

Phillips’ move means another experienced referee is leaving the floor. He has worked 19 seasons and eight Finals, officiating two Finals games this past season. Over the last several years a number of the most veteran officials have retired and Phillips is the second to move to a high-level administrative role, the other being former top-rated official Monty McCutchen.

“After 19 years of experiencing NBA excitement on the court with the best officials in the world, I look forward to the new challenge of heading up the NBA Replay Center and working alongside the great people who help support our game on a daily basis,” Phillips said.

Phillips missed much of the 2017-18 season with injury and spent extra time in the replay center then, working with Borgia and learning about the center’s operations.

“It can be a hit when you have a Finals referee move on to other things,” Spruell said. “We are always looking at our up-and-coming talent to step up.”

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