The NBA and NBPA disagree about how Victor Oladipo‘s remaining salary should be handled, assuming he doesn’t play for the Pacers this summer, according to Brian Windhorst of ESPN.
As Windhorst notes, a player who voluntarily opts out of the NBA’s restart forfeits his game checks for this summer’s remaining contests (up to a maximum of 14 games). Conversely, a player who is unable to participate due to an injury will receive his remaining game checks.
Oladipo’s case falls into something of a grey area. He cited his health when announcing earlier this month that he had decided not to play this summer, and the Pacers haven’t signed a substitute player to replace him. However, he’s not technically considered an injured player since he had returned from his quad tendon injury well before the season was suspended in March. He has also since been cleared by both team and personal doctors to play this summer, sources tell Windhorst.
The players’ union believes that Oladipo should be paid his remaining salary, which works out to nearly $3MM. The league believes the All-Star guard is voluntarily opting out and shouldn’t be paid.
The NBA doesn’t want to set a precedent in case there are other players who decide to opt out despite being healthy enough to play. Oladipo’s public comments – in which he suggested he’s feeling healthy but wants to be cautious – have solidified the league’s position on the issue, Windhorst writes.
As we relayed on Monday evening, Oladipo may be reconsidering his decision to opt out of the restart, since he has felt good and faced no restrictions in practices. If he does suit up, he would – of course – receive the rest of his salary, rendering the dispute moot. If he doesn’t play, his remaining salary will be in jeopardy.
The Pacers, who want to retain Oladipo long-term and will look to avoid upsetting him at all ahead of his 2021 free agency, support the 28-year-old’s decision either way and are willing to pay him his salary whether or not he plays, sources tell ESPN.
While the NBA could defer to the Pacers and leave the decision up to them, that may also set a worrisome precedent, since other teams might not be as willing to pay players who opt out — especially if they’re not stars like Oladipo. I’d personally be surprised if Oladipo receives his remaining salary if he doesn’t participate in the restart, but we’ll have to wait and see how the situation plays out.