Hardship Provision May Be In Play For Bulls

Just four games into their season, the Bulls are now missing four key contributors due to injuries, with Bobby Portis and his sprained MCL joining Lauri Markkanen, Kris Dunn, and Denzel Valentine on the sidelines. With early-season health issues wreaking havoc on Fred Hoiberg‘s starting lineup and rotation, Chicago may get an opportunity to add a player to its roster next week by qualifying for the NBA’s “hardship provision.”

NBA teams can become eligible for a hardship exception when they have at least four players who have missed three consecutive games due to injury or illness, assuming those players are expected to remain sidelined for at least two more weeks.

The Bulls wouldn’t be able to apply for the exception until after Monday’s game in Golden State, at which point Portis will have missed three straight games. Markkanen, Dunn, and Portis all seem very likely to miss at least a couple weeks beyond that, and it’s possible Valentine will too. If so, Chicago would qualify for the exception.

If the Bulls apply for and receive a hardship exception, they wouldn’t gain any extra cap flexibility, but they’d be temporarily granted an extra roster spot. In that scenario, the team could sign a 16th player to its “15-man” NBA roster without waiving anyone.

Again, that roster spot would be temporary, and the Bulls would have to cut that player – or someone else – once they started to get healthier, but the provision could help provide the injury-ravaged squad with a little more depth in the short term.

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