NBA Players May Have to Pay Back Millions to Team Owners - Black Enterprise

NBA Players May Have to Pay Back Millions to Team Owners

NBA players
(Image: Courtesy of the NBA)

The novel coronavirus pandemic has contributed to many people and businesses losing income. Due to the NBA season possibly being canceled, players may have to refund money already paid to them, according to CNBC.

The National Basketball Association shut down after one of its players, Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert, had contracted the COVID-19 virus.

On a Tuesday conference call with executives from the National Basketball Players Association (NBPA), representatives from the players’ union told agents that any compensation deal agreed to by the NBPA and league owners will include refunds on all NBA contracts. 

Sources had reported that NBPA executive director Michelle Roberts couldn’t offer a road map as to how owners will want to recover funds but warned agents that returns would be solicited from players should the league cancel the remainder of its games due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic

According to the collective bargaining agreement (CBA) signed between the players and the league, the NBA is already allowed to keep approximately 1% of the players’ paychecks for each canceled game through force majeure, which translates to an unforeseeable event like a natural disaster or pandemic. ESPN reported the NBA and the players had already discussed a plan to withhold remaining salaries and place the funds in a league escrow if the remaining games are canceled. 

Oklahoma City Thunder guard Chris Paul, president of the National Basketball Players Association, told CNBC on Tuesday that players “communicate as best we can” to stay abreast of league discussions involving player compensation. “We’re aware,” Paul said. “As long as we have the conversations about it and try to make sure that guys are [as] prepared as possible, I think we’ll be fine.”

Players that are under contracts that run past this current season could actually be spared in part, as owners could decide to recoup the funds over the life of the deals. But upcoming free agents who haven’t completed the last year of their contracts could be forced to write checks to NBA owners if they have gotten advances.