4:04pm: The NBA has issued a press release officially confirming the agreement detailed below.
2:29pm: The NBA and the National Basketball Players Association have reached an agreement on a deal that will see 25% of players’ pay checks withheld beginning on May 15, reports ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. According to Wojnarowski, the players’ May 1 checks will be paid in full, as the ones on April 15 were.
The league had previously proposed that players’ pay checks be reduced by 50% beginning on April 15, with the NBPA counter-proposing the deal that has now been agreed upon. Today’s agreement will ensure a more gradual reduction of players’ salaries as they prepare for the likely possibility that some games will be canceled and they’ll have to give up some money as a result.
As cap guru Albert Nahmad and others have explained, if the NBA has to officially cancel regular-season and/or playoff games, the “force majeure” clause in the CBA would allow the league to recoup a portion of players’ salaries — approximately 1% per canceled game. While the NBA still hopes to resume and finish its season, there’s an expectation that the schedule will be reduced to some extent in that scenario.
If they had continued to receive their full pay checks beyond May 15, the players would have put themselves in a position of eventually having to return some of that money to the NBA – if and when the force majeure provision was enacted – to help balance the revenue split between players and owners.
Taking a quarter of players’ pay checks starting on May 15 should help the league and the players’ union remain flexible no matter what happens with the remainder of the season, avoiding any substantial lump-sum payments from one side to the other in the coming months. The players could end up getting money back if the NBA is able to play most or all of its remaining games, whereas if the season is fully canceled, the league would keep that withheld pay and the players would likely owe additional money.
Most NBA players receive their annual pay checks in 24 regular installments through November 1. However, there are some players who receive their salary in just 12 installments through May 1. Those players will have been paid in full by the time today’s plan goes into effect on May 15, so presumably they’ll be required to give back some money. We’ll have to wait for more extensive details on today’s deal to find out exactly how that will work.