The NBA has granted the Lakers a disabled player exception in response to the season-ending injury that Steve Nash suffered, Brian Windhorst of ESPN.com reports (Twitter link). The exception will be valued at half of Nash’s 2014/15 salary, which means it will be worth nearly $4.851MM, notes Windhorst. The Lakers will have until March 10th to acquire a player whose salary fits into that allotment by signing a free agent or by claiming a player off waivers, and they can trade for a player who makes the value of the exception plus $100K anytime between now and the trade deadline. No matter the method of acquisition, the contract for whomever they’d add couldn’t run past this season.
This is the second such allowance that Los Angeles has been approved for this season. The franchise had previously been granted a disabled player exception in response to the season-ending injury that rookie Julius Randle suffered on opening night. That exception was worth $1,498,680, which was half of Randle’s salary for this season.
Being granted the exception will aid the Lakers in adding a new player by allowing them to exceed the salary cap, but with the team’s roster currently at 15 players, Los Angeles would need to waive or trade a player in order to add another healthy body to its roster, as the league-maximum roster count limit still applies.
The Lakers could avoid waiving a player if they apply for a hardship provision, which would allow the team to add a 16th player. With Nash, Randle, and Xavier Henry all out for the season, along with Ryan Kelly, who’s expected to be out at least another four weeks with a torn right hamstring, Los Angeles would certainly meet the criteria to be granted the extra roster spot. But once Kelly was able to make his return, the Lakers would need to pare down the roster to 15 players, so that would only be a temporary solution to their personnel woes.