NBA won't commit to players' pay beyond April 1: report
League could cut or suspend salaries with play shut down due to COVID-19 outbreak
NBA players will get their paycheques as scheduled on April 1, but the fate of salaries beyond that date is unclear, ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported Friday night.
The next payday after April 1 would be April 15. At that point, it's possible the NBA could cut or suspend salaries with the league still shuttered due to the coronavirus pandemic, according to a league memo sent Friday to the teams, Wojnarowski reported.
The lost revenue from the shutdown reportedly could prompt the league to invoke a clause in the collective bargaining agreement that permits reducing players' salaries by 1/92.6 per cancelled game due to "catastrophic circumstances." The list of such conditions includes war, natural disasters and epidemics/pandemics, per the report.
The NBA regular season had been scheduled to end April 15. While all teams have played between 63 and 67 of their 82 games (77 percent to 82 per cent), ESPN's Bobby Marks reported that players will have received approximately 90 per cent of their salaries once they get their April 1 checks.
The league closed down on March 11, after a positive coronavirus test for Utah Jazz centre Rudy Gobert was shared with the team and the NBA. Commissioner Adam Silver announced March 12 that the hiatus would last at least 30 days.
Games in empty arenas?
Wojnarowski reported Sunday that NBA owners are preparing for a scenario in which games won't resume before mid-June, the point when the playoffs are normally concluding.
Silver said Wednesday in an ESPN interview that the league could consider restarting its schedule with games played in empty arenas. He added that it's possible the 2020-21 season could end up running December through August instead of October through June.
Ten NBA players are known to have tested positive for COVID-19, though only five of those have been publicly identified: Gobert, Utah Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell, injured Brooklyn Nets forward Kevin Durant, Detroit Pistons forward Christian Wood and Boston Celtics guard Marcus Smart.
Three other Nets players and two Los Angeles Lakers players also tested positive.