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Adam Silver addresses rumors of lower salary cap due to COVID-19 pandemic


Speaking to reporters via video conference, prior to Wednesday night’s game 1 tipoff of the NBA Finals, commissioner Adam Silver addressed the impending negotiations with the player’s association over the league’s salary-cap in the aftermath of a year in which revenue for the association has dropped precipitously.

“If we just went by the formula in the collective bargaining agreement, we’d have a huge reduction in the cap and tax, and not only would it create havoc in terms of planning purposes for our teams, but I think roughly a third of the league would be free agents, and so there would be enormous inequity there because there would be no cap room for those players to sign contracts,” Silver told Sports’ Illustrated Sam Amico.

“So I think this is where the players association also has to work through issues among themselves and sort of an equitable distribution in terms of wherever — whatever the pool of salary is that we have to distribute next year.”

With the league’s salary-cap adjusted on an annual basis — and the previous season’s revenue dictating the placement of that cap — the NBA faces the unprecedented situation, of having to possibly lower the cap, with income having dropped drastically during the 2019-2020 season, thanks not only to the COVID-19 pandemic but from the blackout of games in China — blowback stemming from Daryl Morey’s comments on Hong Kong. Should the league lower the cap by the percentage called for in the CBA, it would result not only, in almost every team rising above the cap, but restrict organizations to only being able to offer the minimum, as well as mid-level exceptions, despite an abundance of free-agent talent.

Despite Adam Silver’s pessimism, many do expect a deal to be forthcoming, largely to avoid a repeat of the failed 2016 salary-cap negotiations, that lead in part, to the Golden State Warriors being able to sign Kevin Durant. For a league trying to ensure competitive play. it’s doubtful they repeat the mistakes of the past.