Hit hard by injuries, the Cavaliers are expected to apply for a hardship exception this weekend, according to Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com.
Unlike a disabled player exception – which gives teams extra cap flexibility and can only be used to replace a player who suffers a season-ending injury – a hardship exception allows a team to add a 16th player to its 15-man roster on a short-term basis. It can be granted by the league if a club has at least four players who have missed three or more games due to injury or illness and are expected to be out for at least two more weeks.
As Fedor notes, the Cavaliers can’t apply for the exception quite yet, since one of their four injured players – Dante Exum – has only been sidelined for a single game so far. Exum will miss his third game on Saturday, at which point Cleveland can officially seek approval.
Kevin Love (calf) and Dylan Windler (wrist) will also be sidelined for the foreseeable future. With Darius Garland (shoulder) a candidate to return within the next week or two, Matthew Dellavedova (concussion) may be the fourth Cav expected to remain out for multiple weeks — he has yet to suit up for the team this season and is considered out indefinitely.
If their application is approved, the Cavs will target another ball-handler, says Fedor. The goal would be to solidify the point guard spot, with Exum and Dellavedova out. In light of the NBA’s recent rule tweaks, any player signed via the hardship provision by Cleveland would almost certainly receive a 10-day contract.