CJ McCollum was a guest on Jay Williams‘ show “The Boardroom” on Sunday, April 5 and said a lot of NBA players are facing tough financial times, with the season being suspended and, he added, many living paycheck to paycheck.
McCollum, who plays for the Portland Trail Blazers, is also vice president of the National Basketball Players Association.
“There’s some guys in the league that are hurting right now, because obviously a work stoppage is in place, but there could be a pay stoppage,” he explained.
McCollum then said the current NBA suspension will affect the salaries negotiated in the collective bargaining agreement next season. Plus, similarly to many other Americans, some players weren’t prepared for such an abrupt work stoppage.
“I think a lot of guys are going to be hurting, especially people on minimums or people that didn’t just budget correctly and didn’t expect this to happen,” McCollum explained.
“Maybe they loaned money or paid money to family. Maybe they’re taking care of multiple people and now there’s a work stoppage for us and for a lot of people in America,” he added. “So I would say out of 450 players, 150 probably are living paycheck to paycheck.”
While league superstars like Steph Curry and Chris Paul signed contracts for $40 and $38 million respectively, the league’s minimum salary for players with full-season contracts is around $900,000 annually.
There’s others who may fill in for players who are injured, for example, without signing a full-season contract, and their salaries fall below $100,000 for the season.
Additionally, CNBC reports that players who received money upfront when they signed a contract will have to give it back to team owners.
Those who will be affected the most include players who receive pay every six months and don’t get paid during the off-season. The players who received advances as free agents to sign to a particular team will feel the impact too.
McCollum — who recently donated $170,000 to COVID-19 relief efforts in Portland, Oregon, and Canton, Ohio — was one of the first NBA players to speak about the virus early on, before the league was suspended on March 11.
“The Corona Virus has officially hit Oregon, more specifically Lake Oswego,” he tweeted on Feb. 29. “Make sure y’all washing y’all hands with soap for 20 or more seconds & covering ya mouths when you cough. I am officially taking a break from signing autographs until further notice.”