While no one wishes for season ending injuries, they have allowed the Hawks and Bucks to apply for the salary cap exception designed to help teams recover from their unplanned losses. In response to their applications, the NBA has granted both teams a disabled player exception reports Yahoo’s Adrian Wojnarowski.
Under the disabled player exception, a team can acquire a player for the lesser of 50% of the salary of the player they lost or the standard mid-level exception. We were aware Atlanta would likely be without Al Horford for the remainder of this season but it now appears the Bucks are giving up hope for Carlos Delfino to return this season from his foot injury.
Horford’s $12MM salary caused the league to grant the Hawks a disabled player exception worth the mid-level exception of $5.15MM. However, Delfino’s $3.25MM salary only allowed the Bucks to receive a disabled player exception worth $1.63MM.
The disabled player exception must be applied for before January 15th so it appears only the Hawks and Bucks will join the Nets as teams granted this exception this season. The Nets were granted an exception worth $5.15MM after losing Brook Lopez to a foot injury.
This also indicates the Bulls were not granted or did not apply for a disabled player exception due to the injury to Derrick Rose. The Bulls may not have applied for this exception due to the fact they have spent all season trying to avoid the luxury tax and signing a player under this exception would contradict those efforts.
Each of these teams has until March 10th to use its respective exception to sign one free agent for the rest of the season. Alternatively, each team may take until February 20th to trade for a player on an expiring contract that’s worth no more than the exception plus $100K.
Charles Gardner of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel notes (via Twitter) the Bucks roster is at the league maximum 15 players. If Milwaukee plans to use this exception their roster size will limit them to either trading for someone or cutting a player already on their roster. The Hawks are also at the league maximum but have to make a decision next Saturday whether they will sign James Nunnally for the rest of the season or reduce their roster to 14 players.