NBA Said to Cut Workforce Ahead of Season Restart

One person with direct knowledge of the matter estimates 100 jobs are affected

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver at the United Center on Feb. 15 in Chicago. As the NBA prepares to restart its season after the coronavirus pandemic put games on pause, the league laid off an estimated 100 employees, according to a league source. (Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
June 17, 2020 at 9:03 pm ET

Ahead of its planned season restart at Walt Disney World, the NBA laid off an estimated 100 employees, a person with direct knowledge of the matter said Wednesday evening.

In a letter to impacted employees obtained by Morning Consult, NBA Chief Human Resources Officer Eric Hutcherson wrote that the league is “implementing a reduction-in-force and restructuring of operations within selected departments.”

The source said that NBA Commissioner Adam Silver had forecasted the cuts in a recent town hall meeting, indicating that restructuring would occur “around June 15th.” 

NBA spokesperson Mike Bass said in an emailed statement, “We are restructuring certain functions at the league office to better align with changes in our business, particularly around digital media, and be well-positioned for future growth.” Bass did not respond to a question about how many jobs were cut. 

The cuts are said to be unrelated to the coronavirus pandemic, which forced the league to suspend the 2019-2020 season on March 11. The league is scheduled to pick up its season next month at Walt Disney World outside Orlando, Fla.

The impacted employees will be paid through July 6 and will receive health benefits through July 31. The league’s severance plan offers employees up to the level of senior director the greater of two weeks of base pay per year of service, up to a maximum of 52 weeks, or eight weeks of base pay. 

The minimum severance is three months of base pay for associate vice presidents; six months of base pay for vice presidents; nine months of base pay for senior vice presidents; and a year of base pay for executive vice presidents.

Those with bonus opportunities in their employment agreements can receive an additional severance payment equal to 37.5 percent of their potential bonus amount for the 2020 fiscal year, which ends June 30.

To qualify for the severance, departing employees must sign a separation agreement that includes a non-disparagement clause.

The NBA on Tuesday sent a more than 100-page document to players detailing every element of the league’s plans to restart the season in Florida. According to ESPN, which obtained a copy of the document, overseas players will report to their team cities June 15 and players in the United States have a deadline to report of June 22. 

Starting June 23, players will be tested for COVID-19 every other day, plus two days before departure to Florida, ESPN reported. Between July 1-11, players will go through individual workouts at home facilities, while team workouts would still be barred. From July 7-11, teams will travel to Walt Disney World and subsequently be quarantined for up to 48 hours with practice starting between July 9-21. Scrimmages will follow and play is scheduled to officially resume July 31.

When the NBA suspended play March 11, 259 regular-season games remained on the schedule. 

The story has been updated to include details of the severance package. 

 

Matt Bracken contributed.

Correction: The story was updated to remove a reference to an NBA confirmation of the layoffs.

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