The first organization in the NBA has officially made layoffs amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
“A small percentage” of the Utah Jazz workforce — as part of larger overall layoffs within the Larry H. Miller Group — lost their jobs on Friday, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. The layoffs, per the report, were limited to non-basketball staff members, though it’s not clear how many lost their jobs. Some employees will also begin taking pay reductions.
The Jazz are one of approximately 80 companies within the group, per ESPN.
"Due to the impact on our customer-facing businesses from this unprecedented pandemic, the [Miller Group] .... unfortunately had to make difficult decisions to reduce a small percentage of our workforce,” the organization said in a statement, via Andy Larsen of the Salt Lake Tribune. “Over the past several weeks, we have worked to manage and reduce costs, including executive compensation, and have reached a point where we have had to say farewell to a limited number of our valued employees.
"We have connected with our associates with outplacement services and aligned them with employers who have immediate hiring needs. We remain focused on helping our communities stay healthy."
The NBA suspended operations on March 11, just moments after Jazz veteran Rudy Gobert tested positive for the coronavirus. Several others across the league have since tested positive, including Brooklyn Nets star Kevin Durant, Boston Celtics guard Marcus Smart, Knicks owner James Dolan and others. There is still no plan in place for a return this season, though plenty of ideas have been floated should the league be able to return at all.
Many teams have created plans and funds to help displaced arena and staff workers amid the league hiatus in recent weeks, led by Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban, who announced he was setting up a plan the same night the league shut down. The Philadelphia 76ers briefly announced that it was planning to reduce employee salaries, however quickly shut that down after immense public backlash.
The Jazz are the first organization to officially introduce layoffs, however several others are looking into that option, according to ESPN.
The NBA reportedly asked players to take a 50 percent pay cut starting on April 15 on Friday, though the NBPA countered with a 25 percent pay cut starting in mid-May.
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