First and foremost, CJ McCollum is just like you: He wants the NBA to resume more than anything.
“Obviously, you want to play," McCollum said during a Trail Blazers video conference Wednesday afternoon. "I want to get back out there and play in front of fans preferably, but I think we are in a position where we can't execute that right now, honestly. So, we have to wait and see how things go.”
The seven-year veteran has been vocal on social media about how guys around the league need to be smart with their money and look to other avenues outside of basketball to help their money grow.
In a recent interview on ‘The Boardroom,’ McCollum threw out an estimate of 150 of the total 450 NBA players live paycheck to paycheck.
“I think a lot of guys are going to be hurting especially people on minimums or people that didn’t just budget correctly and didn’t expect this to happen. Maybe they loaned money or paid money to family. Maybe they’re taking care of multiple people and now there’s a work stoppage and for a lot of people in America,” McCollum said on 'The Boardroom.'
Wednesday, McCollum clarified:
A lot of people took that out of context. But, what I was basically saying is that I think there’s a lot of players based on what I’ve seen, what I’ve experienced, the research I’ve done -- that either mismanaged money or aren’t in the position to make the right decisions financially because they’re the first generation of wealth. It’s hard to manage money when you’ve never had it before and everyone around you has never had it before. And, it’s not an excuse, it’s not like me saying -- ‘feel sorry for us, we make millions of dollars.’ It’s not saying, I’m struggling. It’s saying that a lot of players especially years two through four are still trying to figure themselves out. They’ve either hired a financial advisor or are in the process of hiring someone. -- Trail Blazers veteran CJ McCollum
As for the 150 players living paycheck to paycheck, McCollum still stands by that number.
“I would say it was just an estimate, but I think it was an accurate estimate, honestly. I think players and not just players in the basketball realm, but athletes and people all across the world have to really take advantage of resources outside of what they’re doing with their day-to-day life… Really budget correctly.”
Yes, there are people out there who believe NBA players throw their money around at frivolous, unnecessary and materialistic crap.
But, as McCollum explained, there are players who have become accustomed to a certain lifestyle AND there are some who are trying to do what they think is best and that's help out family and friends.
I think a work stoppage, it affects everybody whether you have money or not. It affects people around you or it affects you directly, and I think as a professional athlete a lot of times during these times you’re helping people literally. And, I’m not saying it’s the wrong thing or right thing to do, but I’m saying that a lot of players [are helping out financially], especially now, they said 6 million people filed for unemployment last week. -- CJ McCollum
The 28-year old continued, “I have family members that are struggling and are in a position where they need assistance and you have to do what you can when you can, but I think the biggest thing that I’ve heard from players is they’re worried about free agency. They’re worried about, obviously, when checks are gonna completely be stopped because they have to budget accordingly."
McCollum looked as though he was speaking from the heart when talking about how the entire world is being affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
"Everyone is going through it right now -- The pay may stop, but the bills don’t. The bills are continuing to come in and depending on what type of lifestyle you have, as I said on Twitter/Instagram the other day, some people have child support, some people have a certain lifestyle that they are accustomed to living, and it’s definitely gonna have to change.”
Since the end of March, there have been reports that the NBA is looking at different scenarios of cutting players’ wages.
This week, the league reportedly proposed that the players take a 50 percent paycheck reduction, while the Players Association countered that with a 25 percent reduction of paychecks starting the middle of next month.
A typical NBA contract has payments on the first and 15th of every month during the season, but different pay schedules can be worked out within individual contracts.
When McCollum was asked what would be fair for a player to be paid, he pointed out that a good majority of the season had already been played.
“I think fair is being paid for your services. So, that’s eighty percent or 90 percent whatever the case may be. I think that’s fair. We can figure out the rest of the numbers, but I think everyone can agree… If you worked and done something, you want to be paid for that work,” McCollum said.
As for not saving enough money for a rainy day (as my grandma would say), McCollum mentioned how some players may have made poor investments or some players just flat out don’t know how “to make their money grow.”
Here was his advice:
“I just cautiously advise people to really save. To really plan accordingly, because at some point if we don’t continue to play, pay is definitely going to change or come to a halt,” McCollum said.