In the wake of Rodney Hood‘s season-ending Achilles injury, the Trail Blazers have applied for a disabled player exception, sources tell Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link). Given the projected timeline for Hood’s recovery, it seems likely that the NBA will grant Portland’s request.
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.
If granted, the disabled player exception allows a club to sign a replacement player for 50% of the injured player’s salary, or for the amount of the non-taxpayer’s mid-level exception, whichever is lesser. In the case of Hood, the exception would be worth $2,859,000, half of his 2019/20 salary ($5,718,000).
The DPE, which doesn’t give a team an extra roster spot, can also be used to acquire a player on an expiring contract via trade or waivers if his salary fits into the exception.
[RELATED: 2019/20 Disabled Player Exceptions]
The Blazers have the highest payroll of any NBA team for the 2019/20 season and would be on the hook for added tax penalties if they continue to increase team salary. Still, it doesn’t hurt to apply for a disabled player exception. If granted, the DPE will give Portland some added flexibility in free agency and on the trade market, but the team doesn’t necessarily have to use it.
The Pelicans (Darius Miller) and Lakers (DeMarcus Cousins) have been granted disabled player exceptions so far this season, and the Wizards recently requested one following C.J. Miles‘ season-ending wrist surgery.