Do NBA Players Get Paid During Coronavirus Lockdown? League to Withhold 25 Percent of Salaries From Next Month

NBA players will have a quarter of their salaries withheld from their paychecks next month as the league seeks to soften the financial blow due to the ongoing lockdown enforced by the coronavirus pandemic.

The league and the NBA Players Association (NBPA) reached an agreement on Friday that will see players paid in full until May 1, with the NBA withholding 25 percent of salaries from May 15. Over the course of the year, the majority of NBA players receive 24 payments, with the first half of them including a 10 percent escrow tax.

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The so-called force majeure clause of the NBA's collective bargaining agreement allows the league to withhold 1/92.6 of a player's seasonal salary per every game that has to be canceled because of catastrophic circumstances, which includes pandemics, natural disasters, and wars.

By withholding a percentage of their salaries, the NBA will avoid the prospect of players going several weeks without receiving a paycheck.

The agreement reached on Friday does not imply the league will enact the force majeure provision, but it could pave the way for a gradual reduction in salaries should the season be canceled altogether.

Should games not resume, players could lose between 23 and 26 percent of their season salary, depending on the amount of games their teams have played. According to ESPN, the league and the players' association have discussed spreading the deductions over the first four paychecks of next season. Should the 2020-21 campaign get underway as scheduled, NBA players will receive the first four salaries between November and December of this year.

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The percentage of salaries withheld will be returned to players, should the NBA season resume and all remaining games be played. In the event only a number of games were to be played, teams would keep a percentage of salaries based on the amount of games lost to the lockdown.

The NBA suspended the season on March 11, after Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert became the first player to test positive for the novel coronavirus. Since then, the COVID-19 outbreak has swept across the U.S., grinding the economy to a halt after most states issued shelter-in-place orders.

The lockdown comes at a severe financial cost for the league, due to the loss of revenue from canceled games.

To cope with the financial hit of the prolonged shutdown of the season, last month the NBA announced it was planning to raise its credit line to $1.2 billion to aid the league's handling of expenses.

On Friday, NBA commissioner Adam Silver admitted there was no clear path ahead for the NBA to set out a date to resume operations.

"I know it's frustrating. It is for me and everyone involved that I am not in position to be able to answer the question," he said in a conference call with media. "There is still enormous uncertainty around the virus as well. Now there is a lot that is changing quickly and we may be in a very different position some number of weeks from now.

"But it is why I initially announced at the beginning of April that I felt with confidence we would not be able to make any decisions in the month of April. I should clarify that I didn't mean to suggest that on May 1 I would be in a position."

Earlier this week, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) and a prominent figure of President Donald Trump's coronavirus task force, suggested professional sports could only resume behind closed doors at first.

Silver, however, indicated the timing was premature for the NBA to make a decision.

"We are not even at the point where we can say if only A, B, and C were met, then there is a clear path," he said. "I think there is still too much uncertainty at this point to say precisely how we move forward.

"I'll add that the underlying principle remains the health and well-being of NBA players and everyone involved. We begin with that as paramount."

As of Saturday morning, nearly 707,000 cases have been reported in the U.S., by far the highest toll in the world. Over 37,300 deaths have been recorded in the U.S. and more than 59,600 people have recovered, according to Johns Hopkins University, which has been tracking the outbreak using combined data sources.

Over 154,000 people have died globally since the outbreak of coronavirus was first identified in Wuhan, a city located in China's central Hubei province, late last year. There have been over 2.2 million confirmed cases globally and almost 570,000 recoveries.

Giannis Antetokounmpo, LeBron James
Giannis Antetokounmpo #34 of the Milwaukee Bucks and LeBron James #23 of the Los Angeles Lakers hug following a game at Fiserv Forum on December 19 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Stacy Revere/Getty
Do NBA Players Get Paid During Coronavirus Lockdown? League to Withhold 25 Percent of Salaries From Next Month | Sports