At least five NBA franchises have directed personnel to plan for a scenario in which the 2020-21 salary cap could drop between 10 and 15 percent due to lost revenue following the extended league standoff with China, league sources told Yahoo Sports' Keith Smith.
The NBA salary cap for 2020-21 is currently projected to be $116 million per team, meaning a 10-15 percent reduction could equal between $12 and $17 million. The cap number won't be set until June, ahead of the league's next fiscal year.
Over the last five days, all of the NBA's main business partners in China have suspended relations with the league over its reaction to Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey's retweet of a statement supporting pro-democracy protesters in the Chinese special administrative region of Hong Kong. Morey later deleted the tweet.
On Wednesday, a bipartisan group of U.S. congress members - including Democrat Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Republican Ted Cruz - urged NBA commissioner Adam Silver to suspend business in China due to the country's anti-democratic, one-party political system and human rights record.
China is home to the world's second-largest economy after the United States, and the popularity of the NBA in the nation has exploded over the last two decades. The 2017 NBA Finals attracted nearly 200 million mobile viewers in China alone, according to the South China Morning Post's Andrew McNicol.