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:
- It does not free up a roster spot.
- If used, it counts against the salary cap.
- The injured player must be deemed by an NBA physician to be likely sidelined through June 15 of the league year.
- 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.