With Jordan Hill expected to miss the regular season, the Lakers may apply for a disabled player exception, GM Mitch Kupchak tells Mark Medina of the Los Angeles Daily News. Such an exception would give the team approximately an extra $1.78MM to sign or trade for a player.
Mike Trudell of Lakers.com reported on Friday that Hill would undergo hip surgery and miss the rest of the season, a significant blow for a Lakers frontcourt that was already banged up. Having released Darius Johnson-Odom last week before his contract became guaranteed, the Lakers have an open roster spot, so the team could add a player without waiving Hill or anyone else.
As Hoops Rumors' glossary outlines, a disabled player exception is worth either half of the disabled player's salary or the amount of the mid-level exception, whichever is lesser. Since Hill is earning $3,563,600 this season, a DPE would be worth $1,781,800. The Lakers have had more than $1.5MM remaining on their mid-level exception all season, and haven't seemed eager to spend that money, so it seems unlikely that the team would need the DPE. However, as Kupchak points out, it could be worth having just in case.
"There's no downside into looking into it," Kupchak said. "But as far as doing it, I don't know."
Unlike the mid-level exception, a disabled player exception can be used to acquire a player via trade, which would give the Lakers some added flexibility. If L.A. obtains a DPE for Hill, the team could trade for a player earning a salary of $1,881,800 or less, without any outgoing salary involved.
The deadline to apply for a disabled player exception is January 15th, so the Lakers will have until tomorrow to make a decision.