The disabled player exceptions that teams have been granted throughout the 2020/21 season will expire if they go unused on Monday. April 19 is this year’s deadline to use or lose those exceptions.
As our breakdown shows, the Warriors, Nets, Heat, and Wizards each received a disabled player exception this season for injuries to Klay Thompson, Spencer Dinwiddie, Meyers Leonard, and Thomas Bryant, respectively. The Magic were given a pair of DPEs due to season-ending injuries suffered by Jonathan Isaac and Markelle Fultz.
None of those five teams have used their disabled player exceptions — the Heat forfeited theirs when they decided to trade Leonard to the Thunder in a deal for Trevor Ariza, but the rest are still available.
We go into more detail on how exactly disabled player exceptions 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.
At this point in the season, any free agent on the open market typically commands no more than the minimum salary. And since the trade deadline has passed, it’s extremely unlikely that Golden State, Brooklyn, Washington, or Orlando will use their exceptions before the end of the day.
Theoretically, any one of those teams could use its DPE to place a waiver claim on Moritz Wagner‘s $2.16MM expiring contract, but he’ll likely end up just clearing waivers later today.