The NBA season has been suspended since March 11, but players have continued to be paid bimonthly according to their original pay schedules, meaning they received checks on March 15, April 1, and April 15.
With no end to the hiatus in sight, however, and the league’s revenue stream drying up without games, it was only a matter of time before players were required to give back money. Per Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN, the league has now reached that point.
ESPN Sources: The NBA and NBPA have agreed on the withholding of 25 percent of each player paycheck beginning on May 15. Deal gives gradual reduction in salary should Force Majeure provision be enacted with cancellation of regular season games. May 1 checks will be paid in full.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) April 17, 2020
The deal reached by the NBA and the Players Association indicates that players will receive their full paychecks on May 1, but will have 25 percent withheld from the next payment on May 15. The league had been pushing to withhold 50% of paychecks, but the players countered with 25%. The incremental reduction of salary should help the players avoid a situation where they would have to pay money back to the league to even out the revenue split between teams and players.
It is unclear if there are different provisions for players whose salaries are not paid evenly throughout the year — for instance, less than 10 percent of players receive their paychecks on an abbreviated pay scale that ends on May 1, including Kent Bazemore and LeBron James. Previous reporting indicated that the NBA will be able to garnish wages from players who are under contract next season; however, this still presents an issue for upcoming free agents, like Bazemore.
The important thing is that the league and its players are coming together to work collaboratively during this process. There are a number of issues that remain that need to be resolved, but those will be easier to address with cooperation from all parties.