With the Pacers already off to a tough start before the season has even started, the team has applied for a disabled player exception in connection with Edmond Sumner’s Achilles injury, reports Scott Agness of Fieldhouse Files.
For players who go down with injuries that are deemed by an NBA-designated physician to be season-ending, the exception gives teams the opportunity to add a replacement player either by signing a player to a one-year contract or trading for a player in the final year of their contract.
If awarded, the value of the exception would be equal to 50 percent of Sumner’s $2.3 million salary, since that figure is less than the non tax-payer midlevel exception. At the moment, however, because the exception doesn’t create a roster spot and instead only allows teams to go further over the cap with additional spending flexibility, the Pacers, who already have a full, 15-man roster headed into training camp and aren’t far from the tax line, wouldn’t be able to sign a player without waiving someone or consummating some sort of unrelated 2-for-1 trade.
Consequently, unless the team decides against retaining Kelan Martin prior to Opening Night, when his $1.7 million salary for next season becomes fully guaranteed, it seems highly unlikely that the Pacers will actually use the disabled player exception — especially at such a low dollar amount. Still, for the sake of due diligence, it makes sense to apply, just in case.
More than anything, though, applying for the disabled player exception essentially confirms what was probably already assumed: The Pacers aren’t expecting Sumner to be in uniform at any point next season.