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Several top NBA players, including LeBron James and Stephen Curry, won’t be financially affected when the league institutes temporary 25 percent salary reductions on Friday as part of its measures to weather the coronavirus pandemic.
Of the NBA’s 10 highest-paid players, five will not get pay cuts because of their contracts, ESPN reported. James, Curry, Blake Griffin, Paul George and John Wall have already been paid in full for the 2019-20 season.
However, the players will be affected at some point in the coming months. Rather than have their paychecks reduced by 25 percent later this week, the pay cuts will be applied to either their salary advances on Oct. 1 or their Nov. 15 checks, depending on which applies.
For example, James has a base salary of $39.2 million in the 2020-21 season. He would owe $390,000 per paycheck for as many pay periods as the withholdings remain in place.
The NBA suspended its 2019-20 season in mid-March after its first player tested positive for COVID-19 and hasn’t played a game since.
The money withheld from player paychecks will essentially be held in escrow, with pay redistributed if the NBA is able to play out its schedule in full without any game cancellations. If cancellations are necessary, the amount withheld from players will increase.
Players would lose 23 to 26 percent of their full-season salary if play never resumes, according to ESPN.