DENVER -- Eric Lewis was not selected as one of the 12 referees who will work the NBA Finals between the Denver Nuggets and Miami Heat while the league continues to look into whether he used a Twitter account to defend himself and other officials from online critiques.
Lewis had been chosen to work the Finals in each of the past four seasons. This year's Finals referees were announced by the league Thursday morning, about 12 hours before the start of the title series.
After some now-deleted tweets were revealed by a pair of Twitter users last week, the league opened an investigation into whether Lewis violated NBA rules by speaking about officiating in an unauthorized manner. It has not been determined whether Lewis was using the account, which uses the name "blair cuttliff." The account was deactivated briefly last week but was active again Wednesday evening.
"Regarding Eric Lewis and the social media posts, we are continuing to review the matter and he will not be working the Finals," NBA spokesperson Mike Bass said Thursday.
The league has not revealed a timetable for the completion of its probe into whether Lewis used the Twitter account. It also remains unknown what discipline from the league Lewis could face if he broke policy by discussing officiating matters openly without approval.
"We decided that given that investigation was ongoing and it remains ongoing, that it wouldn't be appropriate for him to work in these finals," NBA commissioner Adam Silver said Thursday night. "I don't know what the ultimate conclusion will be. We'll see where the facts take us."
Of the 12 referees picked for the Nuggets-Heat matchup, nine worked the title series last season. Scott Foster will be a Finals referee for the 16th year, while Tony Brothers and Marc Davis are 12-time selections. Zach Zarba was picked for the 10th time, John Goble for the seventh, David Guthrie for the sixth, Josh Tiven for the fourth, and Courtney Kirkland and James Williams for the third.
Returning to the referee lineup for the Finals are Ed Malloy, now an eight-time pick, and Bill Kennedy -- picked for the fifth time. The only first-time selection this year is Kevin Scott, who began working NBA games in the 2010-11 season.
Tyler Ford and Ben Taylor have been assigned as Finals alternates. Foster has officiated 23 NBA Finals games, followed by Davis (18) and Brothers (15).
"The pinnacle for an NBA official is to work the NBA Finals," said Byron Spruell, the league's president of basketball operations.
Besides Lewis, the other referees who worked the 2022 Finals but aren't working them this year are Kane Fitzgerald -- who left on-court work after last season and took over in September as the league's vice president of referee operations and replay center principal -- and James Capers, who is injured.
Lewis has worked more than 1,200 games, counting the regular season and the playoffs, in 19 seasons as an NBA referee. He last worked May 16, when Denver played host to the Los Angeles Lakers in Game 1 of the Western Conference finals. The reports of the tweets came out about a week later.