The Nets are capped out and have 15 guys on the roster — they cannot add another body under the NBA rules. However with Brook Lopez out for the season, they want to. Need to, really, when you consider the injury history of players on the roster.
So the Nets are going to file the paperwork for a Disabled Player Exception according to GM Billy King, as reported by Andy Vasquez of the Bergin Record.
What does that mean? Teams who are over the cap can apply for this exception to add a player when they lose one for the season (something a league doctor has to clear but will in the case of Lopez).
Who can they get? Straight from Larry Coon’s NBA CBA FAQ:
• The team may sign a free agent for one season only, for 50% of the disabled player’s salary or the amount of the Non-Taxpayer Mid-Level exception, whichever is less.
• The team may trade for a player in the last season of his contract only (including any option years), who is making no more than 50% plus $100,000 of the disabled player’s salary, or the amount of the Non-Taxpayer Mid-Level exception plus $100,000, whichever is less.
For the Nets, this means they can sign or trade for a player up to the midlevel exception of $5.15 million (half of Lopez’ salary is $7.35 million).
It should be noted that because the Nets have a full roster they would need to waive a player to make room for another one, even with the DPE (thanks to Devin Kharpertian of The Brooklyn Game for the reminder). They could waive Tyshawn Taylor, Tornike Shengelia or Alan Anderson but they still have to pay those guys’ fully guaranteed deals.
Getting the DPE is one thing, using it is another. They might like to bring in another big man, but the pickings out there are pretty slim (unless they have another future asset they might give up in a trade, but not many of those left). This gives the Nets flexibility but they don’t have a lot of good options right now.
And whatever this player signs for gets added to what is already the highest payroll and tax in the league — they will be pushing $190 million in salary and tax before this signing. But that doesn’t seem to faze Prokhorov.