The coronavirus sports shutdown is about to further hit NBA players in their bank accounts.
The league and National Basketball Players Association announced an agreement Friday to withhold 25% of each player’s twice-a-month paychecks, starting May 15.
The agreement provides players with a “more gradual salary reduction schedule” in case the 2019/2020 regular season is permanently canceled, the NBA and NBPA said in a joint statement. The season has been suspended since March 12.
The player pay cut was first revealed by Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.
“The plan would serve as something of an escrow account that would return money to the players should all the remaining regular-season games be played in a resumption of the season,” wrote Wojnarowski. “Otherwise, teams would keep a percentage of the money based on the cancellation of games.”
The league and its union have been in discussions for weeks about the “force majeure” clause in the collective bargaining agreement that allows team owners to cut player salaries in the event of canceled games.
According to the current CBA, players lose 1/92.6th of their salary for every game canceled due to force majeure events, including ‘epidemics.’
Under the worst-case scenario, the NBA’s 450 players across 30 clubs could lose a combined $654 million in salary if the coronavirus wipes out what’s left of the season, according to Michael Ginnitti, co-founder of Spotrac, which tracks sports salaries. NBA Commissioner Adam Silver suspended the regular season March 12 after Utah Jazz player Rudy Gobert tested positive for the coronavirus.