The NBA is considering cancelling the remainder of the 2020 season, ESPN’s Brian Windhorst reports.
The news comes nearly one month after the league suspended play due to COVID-19, when Jazz center Rudy Gobert’s positive test for the disease on March 11 pushed the NBA into a sudden hiatus. Pregame warm ups stopped. Practice facilities doors’ shut. Players left the cities that are home to their teams. The season that so often moves at a whirlwind speed had come to a grinding halt.
China: Basketball Resumption Delayed Indefinitely
Eradicate the virus, and basketball can restart. That had been the hope, anyway, with Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban even telling Forbes in a recent interview that he envisioned games beginning before June 1. However, China’s steps have forced league members to begin considering alternatives to that plan. On Thursday, the Chinese governmental agency over sports announced an indefinite delay to basketball’s resumption. This order comes as the country begins to turn a corner on the outbreak. Officials fear gatherings like sporting events would lead to the disease’s resurgence.
Cancellation’s Impact Bigger than the Court
According to Windhorst, the announcement forced the NBA to rethink its plans. Now, rather than discussing a potential restart date, talks have turned to a possible cancellation of the 2020 season all together.
In that scenario, players could have a significant amount of their salary withheld, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. The NBA’s Collective Bargaining Agreement includes a force majeure provision for circumstances such as pandemics which lead to the cancellation of games.
Once the games have been cancelled, the provision goes into automatic effect. Under its terms, players would lose approximately 1% of their overall salary for each game that is missed. This could amount to up to a quarter of their overall salary, which they would receive in full now and have to pay back to the league at a later date.