Heat apply for Josh McRoberts disabled-player exception, want to use it on Josh Smith

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Josh McRoberts suffered what the Heat described as a “possibly season ending” injury.

Now, Miami is putting that to the test – just in time to get a financial advantage for signing Josh Smith, whom the Pistons surprisingly waived.

Marc Stein of ESPN:

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Miami will get the disabled-player exception only if an NBA-appointed doctor determines it’s “substantially more likely than not” McRoberts can’t play through June 15. Circumstantially, that doesn’t seem like a certainty, given that the Heat initially called McRoberts’ injury only “possibly season ending.” This could be just an attempt to see if the doctor rules in their favor because it’s worth the better chance at Smith.

If it works, Miami could offer Smith half McRoberts’ salary, though the Pistons would set-off a portion of that amount. It’d be enough to give the Heat an advantage over the other reported contenders for Smith – the Rockets, Mavericks, Clippers and Kings.

Here’s the most each team – Miami if it gets the DPE – could offer Smith and how much extra money that would give Smith on top of what the Pistons are already paying him:

Team Cost to team Extra money for Smith
Heat $2,652,500 $1,734,491
Rockets $2,077,000 $1,446,741
Mavericks $608,367 $889,651
Clippers $608,367 $889,651
Kings $608,367 $889,651

If the Heat’s DPE request is denied, they could offer only the same minimum salary as the Mavericks, Clippers and Kings.

On the court, Smith would make a pretty solid fit with Miami. Chris Bosh’s and McRoberts’ injuries leave plenty of room for another big, and Smith would have a chance to play inside, where he works best (though his propensity to wander to the perimeter is often independent of where his team asks him to go). He’d also fit well in multiple facets of Erik Spoelstra’s trapping defense, capable of both hedging hard and protecting the paint.

But for the Heat to get a real edge over teams like Houston and Dallas, they’ll probably need that disabled-player exception to offer Smith.