The Warriors have been granted a disabled player exception due to Klay Thompson’s season-ending Achilles injury, reports Shams Charania of The Athletic (via Twitter). The news comes in on the same day that Thompson underwent surgery to repair that torn Achilles.
The disabled player exception is a salary cap exception designed to allow teams to add a replacement for a player who suffers a major injury. It’s worth either half the injured player’s salary or the value of the non-taxpayer mid-level exception, whichever is lesser. Since Thompson is earning a $35MM+ salary, Golden State’s DPE will be worth $9,258,000, the amount of the MLE.
The disabled player exception doesn’t give a team an extra roster spot, but it allows the club to add a player without using cap space to do so. It can be used to sign a free agent, to claim a player off waivers, or to acquire a player in a trade. However, it can only be used on one 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.
The Warriors already face a mammoth projected luxury tax bill and any additional salary they take on will only increase their end-of-season tax penalties, so the front office won’t use it just for the sake of it.
With no top free agents left on the open market, the Warriors will likely hang onto their DPE for now and see if it can be used closer to the trade deadline — or even after the deadline, on the buyout market. It will expire on April 19 if it’s still unused by then, according to Charania.