Pacers Apply For Disabled Player Exception After Sumner Injury

Due to the torn Achilles tendon that Edmond Sumner recently suffered, the Pacers have applied for a disabled player exception, per Scott Agness of Fieldhouse Files. The disabled player exception gives over-the-cap teams another avenue to potentially replace seriously injured players, like Sumner.

There are several caveats to the DPE:

  1. It does not free up a roster spot.
  2. If used, it counts against the salary cap.
  3. The injured player must be deemed by an NBA physician to be likely sidelined through June 15 of the league year.
  4. The exception is worth 50% of the injured player’s salary (or the amount of the non-taxpayer mid-level exception, whichever is lesser). Sumner is due to make $2.32MM in 2021/22, so the DPE, if granted, would be worth $1.16MM for the Pacers.

Considering the typical recovery time of a torn Achilles is 12 months or more (Kevin Durant, for example, didn’t play an NBA game for 18 months after suffering a torn Achilles in the 2019 NBA Finals), it’s fairly safe to say that Indiana will be granted the DPE.

However, there’s a good chance it won’t be used. The Pacers are currently about $763K under the luxury tax threshold, so using the potential $1.16MM disabled player exception would put them over the line, which they would certainly like to avoid. Additionally, outside of rookie minimum deals or prorated minimum-salary contracts, there aren’t many salaries that would actually fit within such a small DPE.

However, there’s no cost to apply for a DPE and no penalty for not using it, so the Pacers’ request makes sense. If granted, the exception will give Indiana a tool to potentially sign, trade, or claim a player off waivers, increasing the team’s roster flexibility going forward.

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