NBA players could wind up paying millions of dollars back to their respective owners due to the hiatus brought on by the coronavirus pandemic. Executives at the National Basketball Players Association (NBPA) cleared up details during a Tuesday conference call, telling agents that any compensation agreement by the NBPA and the owners will include refunds on all NBA contracts, according to Jabari Young of CNBC.
This will hit those in six-month cycle payments schedules the hardest, as many receive checks during the season but none during the offseason.
Agents tend to prefer 12-month payment plans to protect players from spending the money at once. Others who signed up for advance payments in their contracts could also suffer from this refund policy, as getting this money upfront means they’ll be forced to give back a portion of it soon.
NBPA executive director Michele Roberts offered no clarity as to how owners will get their funds back but warned player agents that owners would look for their money back if the league decides to cancel the remainder of the season amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Marc Stein of The New York Times reported players who received these hefty advances include Brooklyn Nets star Kevin Durant (earns $37.2 million this season) and Detroit Pistons forward Blake Griffin ($34 million). Nine of Klutch Sports agent Rich Paul’s clients are on six-month pay cycles.
There was also discussion about future salary caps on the call. The 2020 cap is currently projected at $115 million, according to ESPN (via SNY). While the NBPA has told agents to anticipate a beefy reduction in Basketball Related Income for 2021, the hope is an agreement will be worked out that will avoid a significant drop in the cap for the next few years.
If the NBA cancels the remainder of games, the Force Majeure clause would force players to get roughly a 25% reduction of their salaries.