A Exception for disabled players may be granted when a player on an NBA team falls with a season-ending injury. The exception gives the club some additional spending flexibility and acts almost like a cross between a traded player exception and a mid-level exception.
We go into more detail on who qualifies for disabled player exceptions and how exactly they work in our glossary entry on the subject. But essentially, a DPE gives a team the ability to add an injury replacement by either signing a player to a one-year contract, trading for a player in the final year of his contract, or claiming a waiver on a player in the final year of his contract.
Because the rules for disabling player exceptions are somewhat restrictive, and the exceptions themselves are often not worth much, they often just expire without being used. Still, it’s worth keeping an eye on what exceptions have been made for disabled players, just in case.
We will use this area to break down the teams with disabled player exceptions that are available for the 2022/23 league year and update them throughout the season as more teams receive DPEs and/or to indicate which ones were used.
Teams have until January 15 to request an exception for disabled players and until March 10 to actually use it.
Here is the list so far:
Available exceptions for disabled players:
The Celtics used the entire mid-level taxpayer exemption to bring in Gallinari as a free agent, but the Italy forward tore his left ACL during a World Cup qualifier before he even got a chance to play for Boston.
The Celtics gave no recovery timetable when they announced Gallinari’s surgery and the 34-year-old said he hopes to return before the team’s season is over. However, the odds seem slim, so Boston was granted an exception for disabled players.
Since the Cs have two trade exceptions that are worth more than the Gallinari DPE, the team probably won’t use it in a trade, but it could come in handy in the buyout market when Boston is up against a rival who only the minimum the veteran can provide.
Exceptions used for disabled players:
Like Gallinari, Holmgren was yet to make his regular-season debut for his new team after sustaining a season-ending injury in a non-NBA game. This year’s #2 draft pick had at least played for the Thunder in the Las Vegas Summer League before going down with aa Lisfranc Injured his right foot during a Pro-Am game in Seattle.
Because Holmgren was such a big draft pick, his rookie salary is nearly $10 million, allowing the Thunder to get a disabled player exception big enough for Harkless’ $4.5 million+ expiring contract in a deal with Atlanta.
The thunder sent out Vit Krejci in that trade, but he only had a partial guarantee of $781,759, and even if his $1,563,518 had been fully guaranteed as part of the deal, it wouldn’t have been enough to meet Harkless’ incoming salary. Therefore, Oklahoma City had to use an exception to close the deal.
Harkless wasn’t part of OKC’s plans for the 2022-23 season (he was later traded to the Rockets for a pay deduction), but his hiring allowed the Thunder to acquire a future second-round pick from the Hawks and protection too change to another runner-up, which Atlanta owes them.