Coronavirus pushes NBA to withhold 25% of player pay

NBA season has been on indefinite hold since March 11

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The NBA will withhold 25 percent of player salaries beginning May 15 as part of an agreement with the National Basketball Players Association to weather the financial impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

The deal calls for a gradual reduction in NBA player salaries if league officials are forced to cancel games. The two sides are expected to finalize the agreement Friday afternoon.

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ESPN was first to report the agreement.

The money will be held in reserve until the NBA determines whether it can resume its regular season, which was placed on indefinite hold on March 11 when Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert tested positive for COVID-19.

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If part or all remaining games are canceled, the NBA’s 30 teams will keep a portion of the money. If the season resumes and the NBA can complete its full slate of games, the pay will be returned to players.

NBA players will receive their normal paychecks on May 1.

The NBA’s collective bargaining agreement contains a “force majeure” clause that can be enacted if an unforeseen event, such as a pandemic, forces the cancellation of games. The clause allows teams to withhold about one percent of a player’s salary for every game missed.

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The NBA’s expected revenue has taken a major hit as the suspended season erases ticket sales and other sources of income.

It's unclear when it will be safe for U.S. sports leagues to resume their seasons. President Trump said Thursday that games would likely return without fans in attendance in the coming weeks.

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