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Report: NBA players due same share of salaries, whether or not their teams continue


NETHERLANDS - 2020/04/02: In this photo illustration a latex test tube for the Covid-19 coronavirus seen next to US dollar banknotes. (Photo Illustration by Robin Utrecht/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

SOPA Images/LightRocket via Gett

Clippers guard Lou Williams’ slated salary this season: $8 million. Knicks guard Elfrid Payton’s slated salary this season: $8 million.

Should they get paid the same amount?

The Clippers are among 22 teams set to continue the season at Disney World. Players on those teams will effectively be confined to a closed campus for at least five weeks – longer if they advance through the playoffs. Families can’t join for about seven weeks. Players must undergo daily coronavirus tests, which can be invasive.

The Knicks are already finished. Payton – and everyone else on the eight done teams – can just sit home and let other players do the difficult work of generating revenue amid the coronavirus pandemic. On the other hand, players on those eight teams didn’t ask for their seasons to end prematurely.

There is no easy answer.

But apparently there is a decided answer.

Brian Windhorst of ESPN:

All of the players are going to paid – and I mean all of them, I mean even the guys whose seasons are over – are going to get paid the same pro-rated amount as the players in the bubble.

Complicating matters, players on the continuing 22 teams who choose not to report to Disney World reportedly won’t get paid for missed games. Which makes sense – until you consider that players on the other eight teams will get paid despite not playing.

Is that fair? Probably not.

But it’s difficult to devise a fair system. The normal pay structure wasn’t created for teams playing a disparate number of games. The normal structure definitely wasn’t designed for the additional games to be so burdensome on players.

No player will get his full slated salary this season. With so many games canceled and fans no longer in attendance, league-wide revenue is way down. That supersedes whatever salary is slated in individual contracts, which is why a portion of paychecks are being withheld.

The big question was whether team games played would also affect salary. The answer is apparently no – though nothing is final. This could always become a topic of negotiation as some players resist returning.