2020/21 NBA Disabled Player Exceptions

A disabled player exception can be granted when an NBA team has a player go down with an injury deemed to be season-ending. The exception gives the club some additional spending flexibility, functioning almost as a cross between a traded player exception and a mid-level exception.

We go into more detail on who qualifies for disabled player exceptions and how exactly they work in our glossary entry on the subject. But essentially, a DPE gives a team the opportunity to add an injury replacement by either signing a player to a one-year contract, trading for a player in the final year of his contract, or placing a waiver claim on a player in the final year of his contract.

Because the rules related to disable player exceptions are somewhat restrictive and the exceptions themselves often aren’t worth a lot, they often simply expire without being used. Still, it’s worth keeping an eye on which disabled player exceptions have been granted, just in case.

We’ll use this space to break down the teams with disabled player exceptions available for the 2020/21 league year, updating it as the season progresses if more teams are granted DPEs and/or to indicate which ones have been used.

Teams have until March 3 to apply for a disabled player exception and until April 19 to actually use them.

Here’s the list so far:

Teams that have been granted disabled player exceptions:

The Warriors were granted a disabled player exception following Thompson’s season-ending Achilles tear. Because his salary exceeds $35MM+, Golden State’s exception is worth the amount of the mid-level exception. However, it remains to be seen how enthusiastic the team will be to use it. The Warriors, who are way over the luxury tax line, already project to have the NBA’s most expensive roster in 2020/21.

Two of Orlando’s young building blocks suffered torn ACLs that will sideline them for the entire 2020/21 season, resulting in a pair of disabled player exceptions for the team. However, the Magic have a full 15-man roster and aren’t far from the tax line, which will limit their options as they consider whether or not to use it.

Brooklyn received a disabled player exception after Dinwiddie underwent ACL reconstruction surgery. Like the Warriors, the Nets project to have a significant luxury tax bill at the end of the 2020/21 season, so they’ll be careful about using their disabled player exception. Since Brooklyn still has its full taxpayer mid-level exception, the DPE could be more useful on the trade market.

Leonard’s season-ending shoulder surgery paved the way for the Heat to apply for and receive a disabled player exception. However, they forfeited that exception when they agreed to send Leonard to Oklahoma City in a trade for Trevor Ariza.

The Wizards were granted a disabled player exception in response to Bryant’s ACL tear. The team doesn’t have the flexibility to use the full exception and remain out of luxury tax territory unless it sheds salary elsewhere.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

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27 thoughts on “2020/21 NBA Disabled Player Exceptions

  1. Marty McRae

    and here’s the full list of eligible players who qualify on the injury exemption list. Yes, many of these guys are definitely not going anywhere, but they qualify so it can’t be disregarded.

    Lou Williams $8.0
    P.J. Tucker $7.9
    Derrick Rose $7.7
    Doug McDermott $7.3
    Nemanja Bjelica $7.1
    Daniel Theis $5.0
    Nerlens Noel $5.0
    JaVale McGee $4.2
    Jarrett Allen $3.9
    Tony Bradley $3.5
    TJ McConnell $3.5
    Josh Hart $3.5
    Derrick White $3.5
    Hassan Whiteside $2.3
    Ben McLemore $2.3
    Langston Galloway $2.0
    Monte Morris $1.7
    Devonte’ Graham $1.7
    Duncan Robinson $1.7

    Team option would be declined early, could play for 1 year only:
    Ja Morant $9.1
    Jaxson Hayes $5.1
    Brandon Clarke $2.6
    Mitchell Robinson $1.7

      • Marty McRae

        Bjelica would take minutes from Chriss, not sure if GSW would do that. Personally I think PJ Tucker is their number one choice, followed by DRose and JaVale, who both provide needed depth and veteran stability they currently don’t have, and all three are no sure bets to stick with their current teams.

        GSW really needs shooting, so maybe Rose is the look. Doug McDermott is such a great match for replacing Klay too, but I doubt Indy gives him up.

        Wish GSW would sign Korver already, he fits both the veteran and shooter need. Steph is the oldest player on that team, there’s no other old heads, Korver is perfect.

        • shawn hemp

          Dubs are done. No more championship in dynasty 3. Time to undercover shop Steph and dray and klay. See if u can get some young controllable assets and picks and try to build another dynasty. Wiseman is already one piece. Get 2 more and ur set up for another run

          • Marty McRae

            @shawn hemp – AHAHAHAHAHAHA. Best joke on here in a while.

            You do understand they started the season against both the 2021 ECF teams, without Draymond, who is key to spacing and Steph getting better shots? Draymond, the guy who locked KD and Lebron all the time? No, of course you don’t.

            Bro, the Warriors could get a chip -this year-. Period. If they get Rose, Tucker or McGee they get the same depth as the big teams. Wiseman has practiced FIVE TIMES in a GSW uni – none of these guys have played together and they will mesh by Feb and be stomping everyone.

            Do you really think Kelly Oubre is going to shoot 0% from 3 this year? Haha, you dont know anything.

            • shawn hemp

              I’m a dubs fan since ‘88 but I’m also a realist. Recoup and rebuild. Hold on to the glory years all you want but I’d rather build the next dynasty. You really think draymond going to change things? You really think klay gonna be the same after 10 months of rehab? You really think Steph gonna sign a team friendly extension next year allowing us to build a better team around him if we are lottery team the next 2 years? I don’t so what’s the poin. Build around wiseman who’s gonna be the next AD in 3 years and let the dynasty 3 compete for chips before they all 35 and worth nothing on the market.

              • shawn hemp

                If u think oubre shooting his usual 32% from three and draymond getting his triple single is gonna make up for 30 points a game ur tripping. We might be good enough to be a playoff team but not championship level and that’s the point. Stuck in the middle is the worst place to be.

        • x%sure

          Bjelica can shoot, better than Criss anyway.
          Yes a good time for your list.
          A lot of options!

  2. hoosierhysteria

    Celtics: Tatum,brown,smart…chucking up 3’s and missing all day. Only Tatum is reliable shooter.

  3. lambeau gang

    So why exactly did Orlando extend Isaac a 4-year contract knowing that he JUST tore his ACL? That’s on top of his already worrying injury history…

      • Magic 24/7

        More like you have no clue about what you are talking about.

        The vast majority of players now come back 100% from ACL’s. He is a DPOY tier talent w/rapidly improving offensive game. You don’t let that walk away.

        ORL paid him flat 4y/$17.4m + $2.6m bonus if he plays +70 games.

        On top of that, contract has exhibit 3 clause that negates remainder of contract (aka cap hit) if he re-injures same knee.

    • Magic 24/7

      Because majority of players now come back 100% from ACL’s. He is a DPOY tier talent w/rapidly improving offensive game. You don’t let that walk away.

      ORL paid him flat 4y/$17.4m + $2.6m bonus if he plays +70 games.

      On top of that, contract has exhibit 3 clause that negates remainder of contract (aka cap hit) if he re-injures same knee.

      • lambeau gang

        Bucks fan here. Jabari Parker definitely did not had a successful ACL recovery. Granted, he had 2 ACL tears instead of just one, but that’s the concerning thing with Isaac. His injury history since being a 2017 lottery pick is a major red flag. Successful ACL recovery or not, offering a guaranteed 4-year contract to a player who has barely seen on-court action in the first 3 years of his career is baffling.

        • Magic 24/7

          As I specifically noted above, his contract has Exhibit 3 clause which fully protects ORL in case of re-injury + it also has games played thresholds.

          Also, Isaac has played in 136 games and already shown DPOY level trajectory with rapidly improving offensive game.

  4. hoosierhysteria

    5-17. Brown 0-4!!! Go get harden if you want to compete in east. Those 3 young punks wanted to diss KI…he goes for 37. Brown and Smart play defense??? Myth.

    • harden (mvp),wall, and wood

      If they give up Brown, Smart and 3 1st round picks for Harden, then maybe.

    • El Don

      @hoosierhysteria… You are sooo very right in this one!
      BOS desperately needs Harden, as simple as!

  5. mike.honcho

    Why do I get the feeling that within the next 15-20 games or so – Steph will get sidelined somehow, Green’s foot injury lingers and/or Kerr’s back flares up again.

    Just before March, DUBS re-embrace the tank and they end up with the no.1 pick next season.

    • Marty McRae

      They already are getting it when Minnesota tanks this year too. GSW with the number 1 and 2 draft picks, in a stacked draft? Wow.

    • harden (mvp),wall, and wood

      They’re already looking even worse this season.

      Last year the Warriors lost their first two games by an average score of 131-107, this year they’ve lost their first two games by an average score of 132-99. No way should they use this DPE since they’re already looking at a $137M luxury tax bill on their $173M payroll.

      They might try to go with the same enormous payroll again in 2021-22 and hope for the best, but unless they see a miraculous 180 by then, the Warriors will have no choice but to blow up the team in the summer of 2022.

  6. x%sure

    If Aminu & Okeke stay healthy and do the job, Orlando could trade Aaron Gordon and add Galloway to what they get to boost their shooting. Or TJ OConnell if they weren’t committed to Fultz & Anthony.

    • hoopsaremylife

      they already got a james ennis whos not effiecient in his role and a dwayne bacon whos only solid on perimeter shooting and a little bit of defense. trade gordon and fultz for mcconell and mcdermott. thats a good choice. that allows anthony to develop. cuz fultz injury history isnt beneficial.

  7. shawn hemp

    And did u really just say McGee or rose or pj tucker would have us “stomping everyone”?

  8. KnickerbockerAl

    It’s 2 games in. And all the geniuses are out again. Celtics don’t need Harden. Celtics are built as a team chemistry team. Missing Walker is a big key. Kyrie can have bad gms too. Nets looked good cause they were hitting their shots. Nets shot .52% from 3PT, Kyrie shot .70% n KD shot .75%. Both are good 3PT shooters. But they don’t that in playoffs or 20 gms into season. Nets showed their depth IMO. They looked like a deep confident team. All let KD and Kyrie take lead. That’s the biggest thing from gm. I know all the geniuses were saying Harden was going to Nets. And now one bad gm and he’s going to Celtics. Celtics are built as a deep team. Their young core is still growing. They will be fine when they are healthy. I’d be more worried about Kembas health. It’s only 2 gms people, you need to relax. The thing all of us should see in this gm. Is Nets don’t need Har en. He would ruin team chemistry and depth. The Nets looked for real. That’s all I saw. Give the NBA 20 gms or so. We will start to see teams separate themselves. Celtics need to get healthy. They just beat the Bucks without Walker. Bucks team who blew out Warriors. Relax people

  9. KnickerbockerAl

    Warriors offense is built for shooters. They should sit Obrue make him sixth man. He and Wiggins are scorers not shooters. Clogs up floor to have them out there same time. Unless they are running. Kerr needs to make adjustments for Wiggins. He’s not a shooter like Klay. And he’s not a passer like Klay. It’s early but it’s not looking fluid. Steph gets his off the offense. It’s not fluid with two scorers. Warriors offense is about sharing the ball for best look. They should move Wiggins for shooters. Or Obrue, not sure if they can him till TD though.

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