Heat granted disabled player exception for Leonard
Dec 25, 2020; Miami Heat center Meyers Leonard (0) dribbles the ball against the New Orleans Pelicans during the second half at American Airlines Arena.  Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

The Heat have been granted a disabled player exception as a result of Meyers Leonard‘s season-ending shoulder injury, reports Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link).

A salary cap exception designed to give teams extra flexibility when a player suffers a major injury, the disabled player exception can be used to sign a free agent, to claim a player off waivers or to acquire a player in a trade. The exception can only be used on a single player and can only accommodate a player on a one-year deal. A free-agent signee can’t get a multiyear contract, and any trade or waiver target must be in the final year of his contract.

Miami’s new DPE has a value of $4.7M – half of Leonard’s $9.4M salary for 2020-21 – so any player signed or acquired with the exception can’t be earning more than that amount (plus $100K). The deadline to use it is April 19.

The Heat used their full mid-level exception during the offseason to sign Avery Bradley and Maurice Harkless, but still have their $3.6M bi-annual exception, along with a $7.5M trade exception that expires on March 22, so they have a few options available if they want to target a player in free agency or on the trade market.

Miami does, however, currently have 15 players on guaranteed contracts, and none of those exceptions – including the DPE – allow the team to add an extra player to its 15-man roster. So in order to use any of their exceptions, the Heat will have to trade or release one of their current players.

This article first appeared on Hoops Rumors and was syndicated with permission.

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