As the coronavirus pandemic continues its ravoc on sports, we are now entering an era where players are getting paid even though no games are being played in the immediate future.
According to Doug Feinberg on Tuesday night, the WNBA is requiring that all teams cut their rosters to 12 players before Tuesday, May 26. The reasoning behind this is so players can get paid on June 1, presumably when new contracts start getting paid.
AP Source: WNBA teams have to get roster down to 12 by May 26 so players can get paid on June 1. Players cut between now and next Tuesday will get benefits until June 30. League and union still working on a lot of logistics including how much and how often players get paid.— Doug Feinberg (@DougFeinberg) May 20, 2020
The logistics behind this are primarily procedural. A new Collective Bargaining Agreement between the league and the players’ union has forced this moment of reckoning. That said, roster cuts are not necessarily final. In practice, it is reasonable to assume that players cut before May 26 MAY get a chance to join a preseason training camp. the emphasis is mine.
And after all, there is likely going to be a training camp of some sort before the season starts, right?
Don't read more into this then they had to do it to be able to pay players on June 1. @CathyEngelbert said last week they are focused on a handful of scenarios to get season started. https://t.co/abrVMx1Q81— Doug Feinberg (@DougFeinberg) May 20, 2020
Assuming the 2020 WNBA season happens, the league is looking at a number of scenarios to start play. League Commissioner Cathy Engelbert is optimistic that a season could happen this summer.
There are some scenarios the league is looking at to start a season. Perhaps this includes the “bubble city” format that the NBA could also consider. However, Engelbert noted in an interview with Feinberg that the WNBA is probably not playing in the same venues the NBA chooses to.
For example, if the NBA season goes on at the Mandalay Bay Resort Las Vegas, the WNBA could be in Orlando instead. Or perhaps, they could be in Uncasville, Conn., the home of the Connecticut Sun. And if they play in Las Vegas, maybe they play at the MGM Grand instead of the Mandalay Bay. Either way, I don’t see games being played with fans in the stands.
As for the number of games, it is still possible that a full 36-game season could be played if the regular season starts before mid-June. But it’s also possible that there could be an abbreviated season of some type.
It will be interesting to see how the Mystics’ roster looks like once we get toward June 1.