The NBA has granted the Lakers a disabled player exception in response to the season-ending injury suffered by rookie Julius Randle on opening night, league sources tell Marc Stein of ESPN.com. The exception will be valued at half of Randle’s 2014/15 salary, meaning it will be worth $1,498,680, a figure worth slightly more than the minimum salary for a player with 10 or more years of experience. Los Angeles will have until March 10th to acquire a player whose pricetag fits into that allotment, whether it be through free agency or trade, but Stein hears that the organization isn’t in any rush to bring aboard a new player.
Of course, the Lakers will also be without Steve Nash for the remainder of the year, as we learned prior to opening night, and reports indicated that the club would be filing for a disabled player exception in wake of the 40-year-old’s injury as well. Stein passes along that the club is planning to explore the trade market for Nash’s $9.7MM expiring contract, but it’s unclear whether or not this means the Lakers have chosen to refrain from applying for a disabled player exception in wake of Nash’s injury. Before the NBA grants Los Angeles another disabled player exception for Nash, a league-approved doctor would need to verify the team’s prognosis that the guard will be sidelined for the entirety of the season.
Although Los Angeles’ roster currently stands at the league maximum of 15 players, they could waive the non-guaranteed deals of Wayne Ellington and Ronnie Price to make room for anyone they might sign as a result of their one or possibly two disabled player exceptions. Nick Young has yet to see the hardwood this season as a result of a thumb injury, but he’s set to make a return within a couple of weeks, so the team won’t be able to apply for a hardship provision which would allow them bring in a 16th player.