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.
NBA and players union are planning to enter agreement for a moratorium period during league hiatus from coronavirus situation, sources tell @TheAthleticNBA @Stadium. It would freeze all business such as trades, signings, player/team options, 10-days.— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) March 13, 2020
The league is also enforcing a few policies for the next few days to help keep players as safe as possible.
The NBA has informed all 30 teams on policies effective immediately and through March 16, including:— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) March 12, 2020
- All players must remain in market of team
- Players remain home as long as possible
- NO group workouts, practices
- Team physicians/trainers speak to each player once a day
NBA has informed franchises that "each team is encouraged" to conduct educational meeting by Monday for players/staff with physicians to discuss coronavirus situation -- either in person (appropriate spacing) or remotely.— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) March 13, 2020
Several teams had such meetings before suspended season.
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.