Report: NBA May Hold 25 Percent of Player Salaries in Escrow

The NBA and National Basketball Players Association are reportedly discussing the possibility of holding up to 25 percent of remaining player salaries in escrow should regular season games be cancelled.

According to the collective bargaining agreement, players lose roughly 1 percent of salary per cancelled game, based on a “force majeure” provision that includes several catastrophes such as epidemics and pandemics.

The League continues to hold out hope that its current hiatus due to the coronavirus global pandemic won’t lead to the rest of the 2019-20 campaign being wiped out.


Commissioner Adam Silver, NBPA executive director Michele Roberts and a group of league and union lawyers have been discussing a number of ways to prepare financially for how the likely canceling of scheduled games will impact some percentage of lost salary for players, sources said.

The NBA has no plans to announce the cancellation of games in the immediate future, sources said. The league’s plan is to continue working on a number of contingencies for return from a hiatus that started March 11, based on how many days the league has to work with to salvage a season, sources said.

The NBA has committed to paying full salaries on April 1, but the league and union are discussing options for an orderly redistribution of money based on the number of regular-season games that could be lost in the 2019-20 season.

The force majeure becomes one more mechanism for the NBA to make the financial formula work on delivering the players to the agreed-upon 51% share of the revenues with owners.

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