In an attempt to shield lesser-income employees from being asked to take a pay cut during the uncertain economic times caused by the coronavirus pandemic, the Los Angeles Lakers plan to ask the team’s top brass to make a monetary sacrifice, league sources confirmed to ESPN.
Lakers ownership, after consulting with the franchise’s financial advisers, will ask select members of its senior-level personnel to voluntarily defer 20% of their salaries, sources told ESPN.
The NBA’s hiatus in response to the COVID-19 outbreak will reach the four-week mark on Wednesday.
The NBA and the National Basketball Players Association are considering withholding up to 25% of players’ remaining salaries in a league escrow should regular-season games eventually be canceled, sources told ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.
The Lakers’ plan for deferment mirrors actions taken by the league in late March, when it reduced base salaries by 20% for about 100 of its top-earning executives around the world, sources told Wojnarowski.
The Lakers are the second-most valuable franchise in the NBA, worth an estimated $4.4 billion, according to Forbes. The Buss family trust owns 66% of the franchise, with the remaining portion controlled by AEG (about 27%) and Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong (about 5%).
Last month, the Lakers, along with the Clippers, the NHL’s Kings and Staples Center, created a fund holding more than $5 million to financially support an estimated 2,800 hourly staff employees who depend on income from working games and concerts at the arena.
The Lakers’ financial plans for voluntarily salary deferments were earlier reported by The Athletic.