Reports: Lakers to ask senior staff for salary reductions amid coronavirus work stoppage

Yahoo Sports

The Los Angeles Lakers plan to ask senior-level staff to voluntarily undergo salary cuts as the league remains shuttered during the coronavirus pandemic, according to multiple reports.

A report from The Athletic classifies the request as deferments, while ESPN reports that the ask is for a 20 percent pay cut that mirrors the salary reductions undertaken by high-level league executives, including NBA commissioner Adam Silver.

Who’s impacted in the Lakers front office?

Employees being asked to take the cuts are not named in the reports. They presumably include senior-level staffers like general manager Rob Pelinka whose salaries are protected by contracts.

Sources told The Los Angeles Times and ESPN that the asks will be made in an effort to avoid cuts to lower-level staffers, who are likely at-will employees and don’t have the same salary or job protection as contracted employees.

Lakers management plans to ask high-level employees to defer part of their salaries. (Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
Lakers management plans to ask high-level employees to defer part of their salaries. (Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)

Lakers ownership, value

The Lakers are majority owned by the Buss family trust and managed by team president Jeanie Buss, the 58-year-old daughter of late majority owner Jerry Buss. The Buss family trust owns 66 percent of the team, according to ESPN. Forbes estimates that the Lakers are worth $4.4 billion.

The deferments will last until mid-December or the first regular-season game of the 2020-21 season, whichever comes first, according to the Times.

The NBA hasn’t contested games since suspending its season on March 11 after Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert tested positive for COVID-19. The decision set off a domino effect of major U.S. sports leagues suspending play as the pandemic took hold domestically.

Silver said on Monday that the league wouldn’t make a decision regarding the fate of the season until May at the earliest, while ESPN reported on Tuesday that if the league can’t crown a champion by Labor Day weekend, the season will likely be canceled.

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