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NBA, NBPA Agree to Deal to Withhold 25% of Player Paychecks Starting May 15

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistApril 17, 2020

NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 12: An NBA logo is shown at the 5th Avenue NBA store on March 12, 2020 in New York City. The National Basketball Association said they would suspend all games after player Rudy Gobert of the Utah Jazz reportedly tested positive for the Coronavirus (COVID-19). (Photo by Jeenah Moon/Getty Images)
Jeenah Moon/Getty Images

The NBA and National Basketball Players Association have reached an agreement under which each NBA player will have 25 percent of his paycheck withheld beginning May 15.

Dan Woike @DanWoikeSports

The NBA/NBPA announce their agreement on player pay https://t.co/3s8wd80bsX

ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski first reported the deal.

The force majeure clause gives the NBA the right to alter payment to players if an unexpected event such as a natural disaster or pandemic impacts the league and prevents it from playing games.

The 2019-20 NBA season has been suspended since March 11 because of the COVID-19 pandemic, and it remains unknown when or if the season will resume.

Wojnarowski noted that while the withholding will begin May 15, players will receive their usual paychecks May 1.

When the season was suspended after Utah Jazz All-Star center Rudy Gobert tested positive for the coronavirus, every team had fewer than 20 regular-season games remaining.

If the season does resume, the NBA has yet to announce whether it will attempt to finish some or all of the regular season or if it will go straight into the playoffs. Given the fact that the NBA Finals conclude annually in June, it seems likely that at least some games will be canceled if the NBA is unable to put a plan in place for the resumption of the season soon.

ESPN's Brian Windhorst reported this week that the NBA has proposed a 25-day program that will go into effect once a date to resume the season has been decided. Players would spend those 25 days getting themselves ready to play again.

If and when the season does pick back up, it is possible all games will be played in one city with no fans in attendance. Under that scenario, teams would be quarantined at hotels and tested regularly for COVID-19.

The NBA has been hit harder by the coronavirus than any other major professional sports league. Several players have tested positive, including Gobert, Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell, Brooklyn Nets star Kevin Durant, Boston Celtics guard Marcus Smart and Detroit Pistons forward Christian Wood.

There are many logistical issues that must be worked out in order to return to playing, including considering how late the NBA Finals can afford to be played before they start to impact the beginning of the 2020-21 season.

Provided the 2019-20 season does resume, the Milwaukee Bucks will remain the favorites in the Eastern Conference with an NBA-best 53-12 record, while the Los Angeles Lakers are atop the Western Conference at 49-14.

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