Basketball: NBA uncertain about salary payments after April 1

NEW YORK (AFP) – The National Basketball Association (NBA) plans to pay full salaries to players as scheduled on April 1 but could begin cutting salaries to recover money from cancelled games by April 15, ESPN reported on Saturday (March 21).

Citing a league memo shared with NBA clubs on Friday, the sport network’s website said the league might soon begin recovering salary based on a “force majeure” clause in its collective bargaining agreement with players.

The NBA halted its season on March 11 after Utah’s Rudy Gobert tested positive for the coronavirus, which has shut down sports league throughout the United States.

The memo said the league will inform teams about its plans before the April 15 payment date. That is the day the league’s regular season was set to end before the schedule was suspended by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Under terms of the NBA-union deal, the league can withhold a percentage of a player’s salary for a catastrophic situation that forces games to be cancelled, including a pandemic.

It is uncertain when, or if, the NBA might be able to resume its campaign, which had just over a month remaining, or stage any play-offs.

The league could keep back money under the disaster clause in the short term and pay players later should the games eventually be contested.

NBA owners, preparing for major financial losses if the season does not resume, have reportedly been seeking arena dates into August in hopes of bringing the 2019-20 campaign to some sort of conclusion.

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