NBA to raise credit line by $550M, sources say


The NBA is planning to raise its credit line to $1.2 billion, which would aid the league in handling its expenses through what is expected to be an extended shutdown because of the coronavirus pandemic, sources told ESPN.

The NBA credit line has been $650 million, so this would represent an increase of $550 million.

The NBA discussed the plan on a call with the league’s board of governors Tuesday, a meeting that included former Surgeon General Vivek Murthy delivering a grim forecast for the pandemic’s potential impact on the United States and further convinced owners that there could be no resumption before June — if that is even possible, sources said.

Murthy told the board of governors that he was more optimistic in recent days, once state officials took the lead in trying to mitigate the transmission of the virus, sources said. Murthy’s words were consistent with those of other credible health officials, warning those on the call that the worst is yet to come.

“Basically, [Dr. Murthy] said: The only good news is that people are starting to stay home,” one high-ranking league official told ESPN. “No one left that call thinking we could be playing anytime soon.”

The NBA has been considering numerous contingency plans, which include playing only several more regular-season games and shortening early playoff series from best-of-seven to best-of-five, but everything remains fluid, sources said.

Teams are hoping the league will soon give direction on possible drop-dead dates for starting the season, but the NBA doesn’t seem to be rushing to lock itself into a scenario. NBA owners are awaiting the league’s financial projections on lost revenues, which are expected to be shared with them soon, sources said.

J.B. Lockhart, the NBA’s chief financial officer, has been leading the effort to deliver to owners what all expect to be challenging financial projections on a short-term future that is thick with uncertainty and volatility.

The NBA will likely provide financial projections on three primary scenarios: shutting down the season, restarting with no fans in arenas and playing playoff games with fans. Those losses will be reflected in next year’s salary cap and the players’ share of Basketball Related Income.

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