As we outline in a glossary entry, a team can apply for a disabled player exception 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.
The fact that the league turned down Orlando’s request for an Isaac DPE is both good news and bad news for the team. The Magic will lose out on the ability to add another cap exception worth $2,903,220, but the denial means the NBA believes Isaac has a good chance to be healthy before June 15.
Back on January 2, the Magic announced that Isaac had been ruled out indefinitely with a posterior lateral corner injury and a medial bone contusion in his left knee, noting he’d be re-evaluated in eight-to-10 weeks.
That means an update should be provided at the end of February or at some point in March, and there still could be a chance of Isaac returning for the end of the regular season or the playoffs. The Magic figure to play it safe with one of their long-term building blocks, so it’s certainly possible we don’t see him again this year, but the NBA’s decision suggests that’s not a given.
Although Orlando’s request for an Isaac DPE was denied, the franchise was granted a disabled player exception earlier this month for Al-Farouq Aminu. The DPE is worth $4,629,000, half of Aminu’s 2019/20 salary. It can only be used to sign a player for the rest of the season or to trade or make a waiver claim for a player with an expiring contract. Since the Magic are safely below the tax line, they may try to take advantage of the DPE before the March 10 deadline.