Nearly a month after the NBA suspended operations indefinitely after the first player tested positive for COVID-19, the league remains without a timetable for a potential return. Now with the season hanging in the balance, players could be at risk of taking staggering financial hits.
According to The Philadelphia Inquirer’s Keith Pompey, the NBA Players’ Association told agents during a conference call on Tuesday that players could lose 25% of their remaining salary if the season is canceled. This came after the NBA proposed players take a 50% cut to their paychecks starting on April 15.
The financial hit would hit a majority of players across the NBA. According to The New York Times, fewer than 20 players have existing deals that pay them a majority of their salary before April. As a result, most players were counting on a majority of their salaries coming later in the season.
The economic fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic will also deliver a sizable blow for teams. One NBA owner estimated his team will lose at least $10 million due to the season’s indefinite suspension. The number could be even higher, but the league reportedly hasn’t conducted an audit for the 2019-’20 season given the uncertainty for a potential return.
Until the NBA holds its audit for the season, it won’t be able to inform teams what the salary cap will be for the 2020-’21 season and won’t disclose what portion of the revenue players will receive.
While the NBA is exploring methods that could bring the season back sooner, including playing every game in Las Vegas, there is increasing uncertainty for when basketball will return. As the COVID-19 pandemic worsens across the United States, the further we likely are from the NBA returning in any form.