2:31pm: The Cavaliers have been granted a hardship exception, tweets Kelsey Russo of The Athletic.
1:04pm: The Cavaliers have formally applied for a hardship exception, reports Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com (Twitter link).
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.
In Cleveland’s case, Dylan Windler (knee), Taurean Prince (ankle), and Matthew Dellavedova (neck) have all been sidelined for more than three games and are expected to miss the rest of the season. Larry Nance Jr. (thumb), Isaiah Hartenstein (concussion), and Lamar Stevens (concussion) have also missed the team’s last four games. Presumably, the Cavs expect at least one of Nance, Hartenstein, and Stevens to be out for the year as well, since the regular season ends in two weeks.
Assuming their request is granted, the Cavs intend to use the extra roster spot to sign veteran center Anderson Varejão. Varejão hasn’t played in the NBA since the 2016/17 season, but Cleveland wants to give the 38-year-old an opportunity to play his final professional minutes with the franchise with which he spent more than a decade from 2004-16.
If the Cavs receive a hardship exception early in the week, the expectation is that Varejão will sign a 10-day contract.