The Cavaliers have applied for a disabled player exception in response to Dylan Windler‘s season-ending leg injury, sources tell Kelsey Russo of The Athletic (Twitter link). Windler is undergoing surgery to address his nagging lower left leg stress reaction.
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 Windler, the exception would be worth just $1.02MM, half of his $2.04MM salary for 2019/20.
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.
Given how modest the Cavs’ disabled player exception for Windler would be, they’re unlikely to use it even if their request is granted. Still, it doesn’t hurt to apply, since it’s possible the team could find a creative use for it later in the season.
January 15 is the deadline to apply for a disabled player exception, so the Cavs may end up being the last team to apply for one this season. The Wizards, Pelicans, Trail Blazers, Lakers, and Nets all have DPEs available, while the Pistons and Magic have each submitted recent applications.
The deadline to use a DPE is March 10.