The NBA has granted the Wizards a disabled player exception to offset the loss of Martell Webster to a season-ending hip surgery, a source tells Jorge Castillo of The Washington Post (Twitter link). J. Michael of CSNMidAtlantic.com reported when Webster elected to undergo the hip procedure that the team would apply for the exception, which is worth $2,806,750, precisely half of Webster’s salary.
The Wizards can use it to sign a player to a contract that pays up to that amount and that covers the rest of the season, but they can’t use it for any multiyear arrangement. Alternatively, they can claim a player off waivers who’s on an expiring contract for that amount or less. They may also trade for a player on an expiring contract who’s making as much as $2,906,750, which is $100K more than half of Webster’s salary.
Washington is not using its disabled player exception to sign Ryan Hollins, since he’s reportedly set to make the minimum salary, and the team can simply use the minimum salary exception for that. Instead, the disabled player exception is a tool the team can use to acquire another player between now and March 10th, when it expires. The Wizards already had a $1.464MM sliver of the mid-level exception they could use to sign players for more than the minimum, so they have more flexibility to upgrade their roster than many other teams do.
Still, whether they use the disabled player exception, the mid-level exception or the minimum-salary exception to sign a player other than Hollins, it’ll require a corresponding move, since the substitution of Hollins for Webster, whom the team intends to waive, will keep Washington at the maximum 15 players. The disabled player exception doesn’t grant an extra roster spot the way the hardship provision does. The Wizards haven’t officially waived Webster yet, but once they do, they’ll still be able to use the disabled player exception.
Still have questions about how the disabled player exception works for the Wizards? Leave a comment and we’ll provide answers as best we can.