Without a doubt, the primary concern regarding the NBA’s league-wide suspension of activity is the health and safety of players, coaches, staff and fans. But the secondary fallout of such a suspension undoubtedly raises questions in other areas that are important to all those involved.
Financially, this suspension brings up many questions. Will players continue to get paid? Will fans get their season tickets refunded? Will teams continue to make money and reap the benefits of TV deals, sponsorships and other monetary benefits?
On Thursday’s episode of “Scal and Pals”, Steve Ceruti and Brian Scalabrine asked former general manager and frequent “pal” Ryan McDonough some of these questions.
Considering that NBA contracts, with rare exceptions, are fully guaranteed, Scalabrine asked McDonough whether or not these players would still be paid this “guaranteed” money under the assumption that they would. McDonough answered differently than expected.
“My understanding is that it’s based on games played… if the games aren’t played, they don’t get paid,” McDonough said. “And the owners don’t get paid either… I would guess by the TV networks but, in particular, by the fans.
For example, according to Yahoo! Finance, LeBron James could lose around $9 million if the rest of the season is canceled. Some NBA players seem ready to face the consequences based on their social media posts.
“What I’m trying to find more information about… what about the sponsorship deals?” McDonough said. “ Do the Celtics get paid by… whoever their top sponsors are?”
Furthermore, McDonough knows that even if teams and companies have sponsorships in writing, that doesn’t mean the teams will necessarily enforce them. This decision would come out of good faith and a desire to maintain healthy relationships with these partners, even if the teams could still technically make money off the deals.
Ceruti followed up and asked if the NBA has to do anything from a league perspective to enforce rules and regulations on teams.
“Out of the goodness of their heart or maybe with the NBA’s stipend… there may be a rainy day fund,” McDonough said.
He then referred to Mark Cuban and some of the other wealthy owners of teams, hoping that they can provide enough money for essential league staff who could now be out of work.
Cuban mentioned this as part of his plan going forward until the suspension is raised, which will reportedly be for a minimum of 30 days.