NBA, NBPA Agree On Penalty For Players Who Miss Games Due To Vaccine Mandates

The NBA and NBPA have agreed that unvaccinated players who can’t play in games due to local governmental vaccine mandates will be docked 1/91.6th of their salaries for each game missed, according to ESPN’s Tim Bontemps, Bobby Marks, and Adrian Wojnarowski (Twitter link).

Typically, when a player is suspended, he loses 1/145th of his salary per game or 1/110th of his salary per game if the suspension exceeds 20 games, so this penalty is a little harsher than that. It appears that last season’s fine for games missed due to COVID-19 protocol violations was used as a guideline for determining this rate — missing a game during last year’s 72-game season for violating COVID-19 protocols cost a player 1/81.6th of his salary.

For now, New York and San Francisco are the two primary municipalities worth monitoring, since each city has a vaccine mandate for individuals entering indoor venues. The Knicks are reportedly fully vaccinated and Warriors forward Andrew Wiggins recently became vaccinated as well. That leaves Nets guard Kyrie Irving as perhaps the lone unvaccinated player on the three teams based in those cities — it’s possible he’s not the only one, but no others have been reported to date.

Irving’s cap hit for the 2021/22 season is just over $35MM, so he’d lose about $383K per home game if he remains unvaccinated and can’t play in Brooklyn.

Those executive orders in New York and San Francisco aren’t expected to apply to unvaccinated visiting players, who will receive an exemption. The one exception would be Nets vs. Knicks games — since both teams are based in New York, they’d both presumably be subject to local restrictions.

As we noted last week when we first wrote that players would lose salary for games missed due to local vaccine mandates, it was also crucial to determine whether a player’s lost salary would reduce his team’s tax bill for the season, since the Nets and Warriors are both far over the tax line. However, according to Marks (Twitter link), teams won’t receive any tax savings for any players who miss games due to vaccine mandates.

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