NBA uncertain whether it will withhold player salaries due to coronavirus pandemic

NBA players may have their salaries withheld as a result of the coronavirus. A league memo — which was sent Friday — indicated that the NBA is unsure whether it would start withholding salaries from players starting April 15, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

The NBA has that power due to the force majeure clause, which states salary can be withheld in the case of war, natural disasters or pandemics. If the force majeure clause is enacted as a result of the coronavirus, players would lose “1/92.6 of a player's seasonal salary per canceled game,” according to Wojnarowski.

The NBA intends to inform players of its decision before the players get paid April 15.

NBA players could still make that money back

While NBA players could start losing out on money due to canceled games, there’s still a chance they would eventually receive their full salaries. If the NBA is able to schedule a season later in the year — and is able to make up all the canceled games — those players would likely recoup the money they lost for the canceled games.

The NBA is considering that option. The league has reportedly looked at booking arena dates in August in the hopes that games can continue, and that the playoffs can be held, according to Wojnarowski.

NBA has been hit hard by coronavirus

Among professional sports leagues, the NBA has been hit hardest by the coronavirus. Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert became the first player in the league to test positive for the virus. His diagnosis led to the postponement of the NBA season. A number of other NBA players have also tested positive for COVID-19, including Kevin Durant, Donovan Mitchell and Marcus Smart. Other players and people around the league have tested positive, but have opted to remain unidentified.

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