The NBA has reportedly proposed to the National Basketball Players Association that athletes take a 50-per-cent cut on their paycheques starting on April 15 due to the hiatus brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic.
Charania adds that the NBPA has a counteroffer of a 25-per-cent cut on paycheques starting in mid-May, a figure more in line with prior reporting from Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN that the league and players association were discussing scenarios where up to 25 per cent of players’ pay would be withheld if regular season games were cancelled.
The NBA shut down on March 11 after Utah Jazz forward Rudy Gobert tested positive for COVID-19. The virus has since halted nearly all sporting events across the globe.
On March 14, the NBPA issued a memo to player agents stating they “fully expect that players will continue to receive salary on their designated paydays” during the NBA’s suspended season and the NBA committed to paying players their next paycheques — due to them on April 1 — but had not made any decision on payments that were due on April 15.
Under the collective bargaining agreement, the COVID-19 pandemic qualifies as a Force Majeure, which triggers a clause in the NBA’s collective bargaining agreement that states players will lose approximately one per cent of salary per cancelled game.
There have been reports of other cost-reduction measures to atone for the hit taken after the NBA was forced to halt the 2019-20 season. One of the reports was that nearly 100 of the league’s top executives, including commissioner Adam Silver, would take a cut of 20 per cent on their base salaries.
Wojnarowski reported that those reductions are expected to continue through the course of the COVID-19 crisis.
“These are unprecedented times,” NBA spokesman Mike Bass told ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski on March 26. “Like other companies across all industries, we need to take short-term steps to deal with the harsh economic impact on our business and organization.”