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Players Association outlines doomsday provision in memo to players

The coronavirus is threatening to cancel the NBA season, and players could be financially impacted

NBA: Finals-Toronto Raptors at Golden State Warriors Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports

The NBA has suspended all basketball games until April 10, at the very earliest. And while the league is hopeful that the suspension of play is exactly that — a suspension — they have to prepare for the possibility that the season will be canceled.

And if it is, the owners of the league’s 30 teams have a provision in the Collective Bargaining Agreement that will let them off the hook for some of the player salaries.

According to a report from ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, the National Basketball Players Association sent a memo on Friday to its players, outlining the potential worst-case scenario:

The CBA includes a clause called the force majeure event clause that includes multiple dramatic scenarios — including epidemics — that the league could trigger in the event of a worst-case scenario. Other instances that could trigger the clause include natural disasters and war.

The next scheduled paycheck for players comes on Sunday, and those will be fulfilled.

The clause would reportedly be for 1/92.6th of the player’s salary for each game missed. The Golden State Warriors have 17 unplayed games, but two of those were scheduled to take place before Sunday’s paycheck. That means that, were the season to be canceled and the clause enacted, it would likely be for 15 games. That would result in a loss of roughly 16.2 percent of each player’s salary.

It is unclear how this would impact players like Dragan Bender and Chasson Randle, who are currently on 10-day contracts, or for players like Mychal Mulder, Damion Lee, Marquese Chriss and Ky Bowman, whose contracts didn’t start until partially through the season.

Furthermore, Shams Charania of The Athletic and Stadium reports that the NBA and NBPA are planning to enter a moratorium, which would halt all league happenings, such as signings, waivings, and service time on 10-day contracts.

The league is also enforcing a few policies for the next few days to help keep players as safe as possible.

There will surely be more information and instruction in the following days as the league - and the world — navigate this pandemic. As always, we’ll keep you updated.