With John Wall out for the season as he rehabs from left heel surgery, the Washington Wizards have applied for the $8.6 million disabled player exception, NBC Sports Washington has learned.
The league will now determine whether to grant the Wizards' request based on Wall's injury timeline. A player has to be out until June 15, which is expected to be the case for Wall. With Wall having undergone surgery on Tuesday and set to begin a six-to-eight month recovery, the Wizards are confident they will get the exception.
The Wizards applying was a formality. If they receive the exception, it doesn't mean they will use the money, but it gives them more options beyond trades or signing minimum contracts to add players. There is no downside in applying.
The deadline to apply is Jan. 15. The Wizards will likely find out whether they got the exception on that date.
With the Wizards' current cap situation, it's unlikely they would use much of the $8.6 million, even with an open roster spot they now have until Jan. 22 to fill. They are more likely to use 10-day contracts, according a person familiar with their plans.
The Wizards can sign players to two consecutive 10-day contracts before they have to guarantee a deal for the rest of the season. This is a strategy they employed last year with point guard Ramon Sessions.
To use a portion of the $8.6 million by way of the DPE would also require a player to become available that is not only a fit for what they need, but worthy of a considerable salary mid-season. Most players who are worth $8.6 million or anything close to it are already on rosters.
Still, it is better to have it than not have it, so the Wizards have applied and could put it to use down the road if the right player becomes available.
Shams Charania of the Athletic first reported the news.
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