Pelicans Awarded Disabled Player Exception

The NBA has approved the Pelicans‘ request for a disabled player exception, reports Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link). The exception, which was applied for in response to Darius Miller‘s torn Achilles, will be worth $3.625MM, half of Miller’s $7.25MM salary for 2019/20.

As we outline in our glossary entry on the disabled player exception, a team can apply for a DPE to replace a seriously injured player. In order for the exception to be granted, an NBA-designated physician must determine that the player is “substantially more likely than not” to be sidelined through at least June 15 of that league year, so it sounds as if Miller is expected to miss all of 2019/20.

The Pelicans’ newly-generated disabled player exception doesn’t open up a 16th regular-season roster spot for the club, but gives New Orleans some extra cap flexibility to add a player. The exception – which has a March 10 deadline – can be used to to sign a free agent to a one-year deal or to acquire a player on an expiring contract via trade or waivers, assuming his salary fits into the exception.

Since the Pelicans already used all their cap space and their room exception, the $3.625MM DPE could come in handy at the trade deadline or during buyout season. However, if the club isn’t in playoff contention, it’s possible it’ll simply go unused.

New Orleans would lose the DPE if Miller is traded before the exception is used.

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