As a result of these unpredecented times, the NBA have made the decision to reduce base salaries by 20% of the league office’s 100 top-earning executives worldwide. Those affected include commissioner Adam Silver and deputy Mark Tatum.
The coronavirus outbreak has had ramifications worldwide, both before and since Rudy Gobert’s positive test saw the NBA suspended indefinitely earlier this month.
Rudy’s Utah Jazz teammate Donovan Mitchell, Boston Celtics guard Marcus Smart and Detroit Pistons forward Christian Wood are among the players who have contracted the virus since – though the latter has emerged unscathed, making a full recovery today.
That cannot be said for everyone who contracts the virus. Minnesota Timberwolves’ All-Star center Karl Anthony-Towns revealed in an emotional video on Tuesday night that his mother Jacqueline is in a medically-induced coma and had to be put on a ventilator.
The financial losses as a result of suspended competition cannot be ignored. There are still 15 games left of the regular season, plus a month-long postseason. Teams and players are doing their bit to proactively lessen the damage, though it was inevitable that high-earning league staff would be affected eventually. Now, is just the start.
As reported by ESPN, the cuts are effective immediately and affect league employees both inside their New York HQ and global offices. Teams are set to make their next schedule salary payments to players on April 1, though it’s unclear whether they will receive their next check on April 15.
NBA spokesman Mike Bass refused to confirm ESPN’s reporting but instead said this: “These are unprecedented times and, like other companies across all industries, we need to take short-term steps to deal with the harsh economic impact on our business and organisation.”
The league could say the current pandemic falls under what is legally known as a “Force Majeure Event” – unforeseeable circumstances, such as war or an epidemic. Per the Coollective Bargaining Agreement (CBA), when that clause is invoked, players could lose 1.08% of their annual salary for each game missed.
What does this mean?
Stephen Curry – the league’s highest-paid player this season – could lose around $435,000 for each game that ultimately is not played. As for players who had a two-way contract which converted into a regular NBA deal, they would lose $9,700 per game.
None of this would become finalised until the league officially cancels games, which has not yet occured. As I originally reported when their suspension was made official, the NBA and its teams are prepared to finish the season in the summer months.
Things are made slightly easier as the Tokyo Olympics was yesterday postponed for a year, although it’s unclear when proceedings would resume: especially as the US is now the world’s worst-hit country for COVID-19.