NBA players will have 25 percent of their paychecks withheld as of May 15, in case there’s “a permanent cancellation of the 2019-20 regular season or playoff games due to the COVID-19 pandemic,” according to a statement from the league.
The reductions, which will be held in escrow, will be stretched out through November and December of the 2020-21 season.
The overall decision was agreed upon by the NBA and the National Basketball Players Association (NBPA) and was announced on Friday.
According to ESPN, the amount of money taken in the reduction would be returned to the players if all of the regular season games are played at some point. If those games aren’t played, teams get a percentage of the funds, which will be determined based on the number of games canceled.
The NBPA has already told players they may not find out until June 15 whether games will be canceled.
Last Friday’s agreement increases the normal withholding of 10 percent of players’ salaries from each paycheck to the new figure of 25 percent. This escrow money usually would be returned to the players at the end of the season, but this year the league faces the prospect of so many games going unplayed that teams might have had to pursue players for excess salary that already had been paid, so the league and union agreed to the increase the withholding figure.
The NBA suspended the season on March 11 after Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert tested positive for the virus. Soon afterward, it was learned that other Jazz players were infected, including shooting guard Donovan Mitchell.
Both players have since recovered, and the rest of the Utah Jazz were cleared of the virus in late March.
Gobert failed to take the disease seriously early on, and on March 9 he touched all of the microphones and recorders at the Jazz’s practice facility as a joke.
Mitchell was reportedly upset with Gobert for his casual attitude and for giving him the virus. Later, it was said the two had a strained relationship, but Gobert denied that things were bad between them.
“It’s true that we didn’t speak for a while after this, but we spoke a few days ago,” said Gobert April 12 on IG Live. “We’re both ready to go out there and try to win a championship for this team.”
Other NBA players who’ve tested positive for the virus include Kevin Durant of the Brooklyn Nets, the Boston Celtics’ Marcus Smart and the Detroit Pistons’ Christian Wood.