The league has awarded the Pelicans a $2.75MM disabled player exception because of the injury to Alexis Ajinca, Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.com tweets. Ajinca had surgery on his right knee back in October and is expected to miss the entire 2017/18 season.
While the exception gives the 23-20 Pelicans the ability to add another contributor, their financial situation will make them think long and hard about taking on additional salary. New Orleans is approximately $706K below the luxury tax and roughly $1.29MM below the hard cap, as ESPN’s Bobby Marks points out (ESPN Now link).
Disabled player exceptions are rarely used, as Luke Adams of Hoops Rumors notes in our glossary entry explaining them. However, it does give the team some flexibility should an advantageous deal present itself.