The Brooklyn Nets have been granted a one-time use of the Disabled Player Exception by the NBA, according to a Yahoo! Sports report. The one-time exception would theoretically allow the Nets to replace center Brook Lopez, who underwent an independent examination by the NBA that concluded Lopez’s foot would leave him out for the season.
Though the report states that the Nets have until March 10th to use the exception, the exception expires on March 15th. If they want to use it to make a trade, they have until the regular trade deadline of February 20th.
The exception allows the Nets to either sign a player for up to $5.15 million, or trade for a player’s contract worth up to $5.25 million if that player is in the last year of his contract.
It does not create a roster spot, and since the Nets currently have a full roster, they would either have to waive a player or perform a 2-for-1 trade to open a roster spot. The Nets would still be on the hook for any player’s salary they waive. Sending players down to the D-League does not open a spot.
The Nets would also have to pay any added luxury tax penalties for using the exception. If they use the full $5.25 million, that could mean a bill for close to $30 million. The NBA will gladly take the money, but since the tax is meant to curtail spending, taxing a team for using an exception meant to replace a season-ending injury seems unnecessary.
With the Nets already at a full roster, deep in the luxury tax, paying as much as $5 million with tax included for their minimum-salary players (who they’d likely need to waive), orchestrating a move for a player rental seems unlikely. But the exception was requested and granted, meaning Billy King has another tool in his kit.