The COVID-19 pandemic put the NBA on hold indefinitely. The league is still working to find a solution to end the 2019-2020 season, notably by potentially playing in a “bubble” in Las Vegas or Disney World. However, the season has been postponed long enough for player salaries to be affected.
The NBA and the players’ union have agreed on a plan to temporarily cut wages by 25%. As a result, more than $ 30 million was withheld from players’ pay checks on May 15.
The amount withheld on paychecks could increase up to 40%. This scenario would occur if the league cancels the rest of the regular season and resumes with only the playoffs.
If the league cancels the regular season and after the season, players will lose more than a billion dollars in collective wages.
However, if the season resumes normally, the teams will have to return the retained money. But with each passing day, this doesn’t seem like a realistic option. Additionally, teams with no chance of qualifying for the playoffs have a limited incentive to play the last quarter of the season.
According to ESPN, 100 players will have their wages reduced by at least $ 100,000. In addition to the complexity, some players have already been paid in full, so their paycheck reduction will take place next season, starting October 1 or November 15.
Stars like James Lebron, Steph Curry, John Wall, and Kevin Durant all received their full salary for the 2019-2020 season. This means they will owe money at the start of the 2020-21 season. For example, Curry will have to pay $ 420,000 each time there is an expected 25% pay cut. James, on the other hand, will lose $ 390,000 from each check.
Other players will not experience a full 25% reduction due to the payday advances they have already received. This essentially divides their deductions into two installments.
For example, Russell Westbrook lost $ 200,555 on May 15 and will owe the Rockets an additional $ 200,000 for his 2020-2021 salary. Meanwhile, Chris Paul, who was traded for Westbrook and earns about the same amount, saw his May 15 check reduced by $ 401,109. As a result, he won’t owe any extra money for the 2020-21 season – though he may see further reduced checks if the game continues to be postponed.
The NBA was at the top of the world just a few months ago. Now they are waiting and see many more questions to come.