Bulls Apply For Disabled Player Exception

The Bulls have applied for a disabled player exception due to Lonzo Ball‘s knee injury, which is expected to sideline him for the entire 2023/24 season, tweets Shams Charania of The Athletic.

Chicago confirmed the news (Twitter link via K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago). VP of basketball operations Arturas Karnisovas previously stated the team didn’t expect Ball to play next season.

Ball underwent a third left knee surgery in March — a cartilage transplant — after two previous surgeries were unable to clear up persistent discomfort when he tried to ramp up his on-court activities. The 25-year-old has been sidelined since January 14, 2022, when he originally tore his meniscus.

A disabled player exception grants an over-the-cap team some extra spending power when it loses a player to an injury deemed more likely than not to sideline him through at least June 15, 2024.

The exception is worth either half the injured player’s salary or the value of the mid-level exception, whichever is lesser. In this case, Ball’s ’23/24 salary is $20.46MM, so Chicago’s DPE would be worth $10.23MM if the NBA grants the request.

As we explain in our glossary entry, the disabled player exception can be used to sign a free agent, to claim a player off waivers, or to acquire a player in a trade. The exception can only be used on a single player and can only accommodate a player on a one-year deal. A free agent signee can’t get a multiyear contract, and any trade or waiver target must be in the final year of his contract.

Although the disabled player exception gives a team extra cap flexibility, it doesn’t open up an extra spot on the 15-man roster. The club must have a roster spot available to use the DPE to add a player.

Ball holds a $21.4MM player option for ’24/25, the final year of his contract.

View Comments (20)