In an effort to smooth out the potential loss of salary from missed games, the NBA and its players agreed on Friday to cut May 15 paychecks by 25 percent, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN. This is a pre-emptive move to get out in front of the NBA having to invoke the “force majeure” clause, which would allow it to withhold player salaries entirely in the event of missed games.
A formal ratification of the plan is underway this afternoon. https://t.co/a35cAOA2WN
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) April 17, 2020
By agreeing to cut pay by 25 percent a month from now, players will receive their May 1 paychecks as usual and prepare for the missed income. It also means that when and if the league invokes the force majeure clause, a portion of the lost salary will have already come out of players’ wallets.
Altogether, according to an analysis by Jeff Siegel at Early Bird Rights, the league could take away as much as 24.7 percent of players’ total salaries, if the entire rest of the regular season and playoffs were to be canceled. That seems relatively unlikely, after reports this week indicated optimism about the possibility of ending the NBA’s hiatus.
Player contracts also take various shapes based on agents’ negotiations with teams. Some are front-loaded, while others are more evenly spread across the season, so different players will have received different proportions of their total salary by this point in the year. Rather than writing a massive check to the league in a couple months, the players have agreed to spread out the losses over time, as it’s probable by now that at least some games will be sacrificed.