The NBA Players Association postponed a call with a group of player agents regarding the financial ramifications of canceled games due to the COVID-19 pandemic, according to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski.
Wojnarowski reported in March the NBA and the players' union were in negotiations over a plan "for withholding up to 25 percent of players' remaining salaries in a league escrow." The current collective bargaining agreement stipulates players forfeit around one percent of their per-game salary for every game that is canceled.
Brian Windhorst of ESPN reported Monday those around the league are beginning to shift their focus away from restarting the 2019-20 season and toward the consequences of wiping out the rest of the year.
According to Windhorst, the team owners are looking to amass a pool of money to make up for some of the shortfall the NBA would absorb by waving the white flag. FiveThirtyEight's Neil Payne estimated the league could lose $1 billion in total revenue.
Wojnarowski initially reported March 20 that players were set to receive their full paychecks April 1 but could see the effects of the ongoing pandemic reflected in their April 15 checks.
He also explained that in the event the players didn't reach a compromise to put money away in escrow, they'd still be on the hook down the road:
"If the NBPA doesn't agree to withholding possible force majeure payments in a similar escrow fashion, players would have to pay back the difference in the money owed to the team at season's end. If a player is traded or signs a free-agent deal with a new team without having fulfilled the payment, the new team would be required to withhold the difference in salary payment to the player and send the money owed to the previous team, according to the CBA."
Windhorst's report in particular cast significant doubt on whether the current season will resume at all despite the obvious desire from all involved parties to return to a level of normalcy.
Given China has been ahead of the United States in the pandemic's spread, the Chinese Basketball Association was viewed as a possible template for the NBA to follow. As the CBA was lining up its restart, the government indefinitely restricted all major sporting events over public health concerns in what was a setback for the NBA.