NBA commissioner David Stern will not collect on his eight-figure salary during the ongoing lockout, according to sources with knowledge of Stern's pay status.
Amid growing tensions on both sides of a labor impasse that has lasted 33 days, with owners proposing sharp cuts in salary and contract lengths, and with no end in sight to the stalemate, Philadelphia 76ers center Spencer Hawes this week publicly questioned via Twitter why there have been "no rumblings about a pay cut for (Stern) while he asks every single player to do so."
Stern has given no indication that he will agree to lower his salary when the sides ultimately do hammer out a new labor agreement that is expected to be far more restrictive for players. Yet sources confirmed Tuesday that, during the work stoppage, Stern will indeed pass on collecting a salary that, based on a New York Daily News report in February, has been estimated as high as $23 million annually.
Although he has not publicly addressed the matter since the lockout commenced July 1, Stern said during All-Star Weekend in Los Angeles that he would not be paid.
Responding to a question at the time about whether he would drop his salary to $1 as NFL commissioner Roger Goodell did during the NFL's lockout, Stern said: "Well, I would say that last time (during the NBA's 1998-99 lockout) I didn't take a salary. I think a dollar would be too high in the event of a work stoppage."
Stern's exact yearly salary is not known, but three sources consulted this week by ESPN.com all put it at $15-to-16 million.
One source said Tuesday, according to information he received from one team in the Eastern Conference and one team in the West, that the commissioner earns $500,000 per franchise annually. That would compute to $15 million per season before bonuses are added.
Twenty-one NBA players are scheduled to earn at least $15 million during the 2011-12 season, from Kobe Bryant's $25,244,000 with the Los Angeles Lakers to Rudy Gay's $15,032,144 with the Memphis Grizzlies. Four players are contracted to make at least $20 million: Bryant, Washington's Rashard Lewis, San Antonio's Tim Duncan and Boston's Kevin Garnett.
Marc Stein covers the NBA for ESPN.com.