Coronavirus pushes NBA to propose 50% player pay cuts

With no clear indication of when the NBA will be able to resume its 2019-20 season due to the coronavirus pandemic, league officials have proposed that players take a significant pay cut to help stem financial losses, according to a report Friday.

The NBA is pushing for players to take a 50 percent cut to their paychecks starting April 15, The Athletic reported, citing sources familiar with the matter. The National Basketball Players Association countered with an offer for players to take a 25 percent cut that would take effect in mid-May rather than the upcoming pay period.

Representatives for the NBA and the NBPA did not immediately respond to FOX Business’ request for comment.

NBA players were paid normally through April 1 after league officials opted to indefinitely suspend the season March 11 after a Utah Jazz player tested positive for COVID-19. However, the NBA’s collective-bargaining agreement includes a “force majeure” provision that allows the league to garnish player pay in the event of an unforeseen event that prevents games from being played.

To date, the suspension of play has cost NBA franchises millions of dollars each in lost ticket sales alone. The NBA has indicated that it hopes to resume play at some point in the near future, though social distancing protocols and bans on mass gatherings have complicated the process.

NBPA Executive Director Michele Roberts addressed the possibility of player pay cuts related to the force majeure clause.

“The revenue consequences are significant,” Roberts told USA Today last month. “Sure, there is language that allows the league to enforce what they perceive to be a ‘force majeure’ and that would have an impact on compensation for players going forward. But if it happens, there would be a recognition the league is prepared to lose tens of millions of dollars.”

Last month, the NBA reduced base salaries for top-earning executives by 20 percent, ESPN reported. NBA Commissioner Adam Silver and Deputy Commissioner Mark Tatum were among those affected by the reductions.

Several NBA teams enacted plans to continue paying hourly employees during the stoppage.