Coronavirus: NBA’s highest-paid executives, including Adam Silver, will take 20 percent pay cut, per report

The NBA is losing more and more money with each passing day the coronavirus prevents games from being played, and some of its highest earners are now taking the hit. Around 100 of the top executives in the league office will take a 20 percent pay cut on their base salaries for the duration of this crisis, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. That list includes big names like commissioner Adam Silver and deputy commissioner Mark Tatum, but for the time being, it will not include support or administrative staff through the rest of the league. 

The NBA is not the first major sports organization to attempt to save on salaries. The Boston Bruins placed 68 employees on temporary leave effective April 1. The Philadelphia 76ers attempted to institute an organization-wide 20 percent pay cut, but backlash internally and externally convinced them to change course. 

The NBA’s decision stands out due to who is affected. While other cost-cutting measures have been aimed at either entire organizations or employees lower on the totem pole, the NBA has for the time being limited its cutbacks to its highest earners. The league has, so far, taken great steps to help minimize the financial impact of this pandemic on its lowest-income workers. A number of star players and their teams have pledged money to help arena workers through this crisis. 

There is no definitive timeline for a return to games, and therefore revenue generation, for the NBA. It is therefore unknown how long this pay cut will last, or what others might be instituted in the interim. The league recently increased its credit line to $1.2 billion in an effort to offset cash-flow problems. For now, though, the league office is attempting to limit the damage to those who are most equipped to handle it. 

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