NBA players will receive their full checks when the next payday for most of them arrives on April 15, even though no games will have been played for more than a month at that point.
The NBA gave teams the directive on Thursday in a memo that was obtained by ESPN.
The league and the National Basketball Players Association have been in talks for weeks about the status of salaries during the NBA’s shutdown. A source told ESPN’s Tim Bontemps that the players’ union didn’t view April 15 as a hard deadline and preferred to wait and see how the situation unfolds rather than come to an agreement right now.
The last games were played March 11, the day that Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert became the first NBA player to test positive for the coronavirus.
The pandemic will lead to the delay of at least 259 regular-season games through April 15, which would have been the end of the regular season. NBA commissioner Adam Silver said earlier this week that no decisions about the rest of the season, including whether play can resume, would occur before May.
None of the games have been canceled yet. The playoffs were to begin April 18, and the losses in revenue should the season be shortened or not finished could easily reach hundreds of millions of dollars.
Being paid in full now also doesn’t mean that things will stay that way for players. What the collective bargaining agreement between the league and its players describes as a “force majeure event” — the legal term for unforeseeable circumstances, such as an epidemic or pandemic — could still come into play. Per the CBA, players could lose 1.08% of their annual salary for each game that is canceled.
Most NBA players are paid on the first and 15th day of each month. The next scheduled payment comes on May 1, and it remains unclear if those checks will be affected by the possibility of shortening the season or not resuming it at all.