Report: NBA Players May Need To Refund Millions To Team Owners

Sam Amico

NBA players who received upfront payments on their contract will likely need to pay back team owners, according to a report from CNBC.

The players' association held an hour-long call Tuesday that "cleared up misinformation and told agents that any compensation deal constructed by the NBPA and league owners will include refunds on all NBA contracts," CNBC reported.

The NBA has been on hiatus since March 11 because of the coronavirus pandemic.

"The repayments will hit hardest for players who receive their paychecks on a six-month cycle, who receive more money per pay cycle but don’t get checks during the off-season," CNBC reported. "Teams often use advances to lure free agent players to sign deals sooner, at times offering full or partial payment of contracts upfront."

It is believed that several Rich Paul clients are among those who received upfront payments and will need to refund those payments. Paul represents Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James and Anthony Davis, Philadelphia 76ers guard Ben Simmons and many others.

Paul's clients, however, would certainly not be the only ones impacted by such an arrangement.

"NBPA executive director Michelle Roberts offered no road map as to how owners will want to recover funds" CNBC reported, "but warned agents returns would be solicited should the league cancel the remainder of its games due to the coronavirus pandemic."

Some players who fit this criteria could be partially spared if team owners determine that funds can be recouped over the life of the contract.

"But upcoming free agents who haven’t completed the last year of contracts could be forced to write checks to NBA owners if they got advances," CNBC reported.

Such a decision would also affect the agents themselves -- as they will not receive commissions on contracts should money need to be refunded.

One agent told CNBC he thinks the NBA could try to halt 50 percent of the players' remaining pay "until the completion of the league’s 2019-20 accounting, which is expected in early July."

Oklahoma City Thunder guard and union president Chris Paul said the players have been in communication about the possibility of needing to compensate the league.

“We’re aware,” Paul told CNBC. “As long as we have the conversations about it and try to make sure that guys are prepared as possible, I think we’ll be fine.”

NBA commissioner Adam Silver told TNT's Ernie Johnson that the league won't likely determine if the season can be resumed until at least May 1.

Sam Amico covers the NBA and Cleveland Cavaliers for SI.com. Follow him @AmicoHoops.

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