The future of the economic landscape in the NBA remains a bit of mystery in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. League sources indicate the league will be losing upwards of a billion dollars in potential revenue for this season alone for playing without fans in the Orlando bubble. That trend appears set to continue into next season with 82 regular season games likely to be held without fans in the stands, barring the introduction of a vaccine or therapeutics by the end of 2020.
The direct trickle-down financial impact for players in the NBA remains to be seen in full. There will undoubtedly be negotiations between the league and players union in regards to how to handle the loss in revenue as it pertains to the upcoming salary cap for the 2020-21 season, but one league source told BSJ they believe the cap will hold steady at $109 million. Spreading out the cap losses over a few years rather than a one-year freefall is probably a wise way to insulate future free agents and teams (via luxury tax penalties) from taking too big of a hit in the short-term.
The Celtics already have a hefty financial commitment for 13 players in the 2020-21 season, with the vast majority of that money tied up with three players (Walker, Hayward, Brown). That trio is set to make a combined $91 million next season alone, making up roughly 67 percent of the team’s payroll for next season.
Jaylen Brown will be the player receiving the newest big payday out of the bunch after agreeing to a four-year, $107 million extension in October. Brown’s All-Star level play through the first five months of the 2019-20 season made that deal look like a bargain for Boston by the time the regular season was suspended in March. The changing financial landscape of the NBA now begs the question though, as submitted by one reader: Would the Celtics have been better off waiting on re-signing Brown until after this season under the current economic conditions?