Just over a month after signing with the Los Angeles Lakers, All-NBA center DeMarcus Cousins suffered yet another devastating injury, tearing his ACL during an offseason workout in Las Vegas. Cousins signed a one-year, $3.5 million contract with the Lakers in July, hoping to return to the form he displayed before suffering a torn Achilles tendon in 2018 and a torn quad during the playoffs this past April.
Now Cousins is expected to miss the 2019-20 season while recovering from his latest injury, and the NBA has granted the Lakers a $1.75 million disabled player exception, according to The Athletic’s Shams Charania. The deadline for Los Angeles to utilize the exception is March 10.
Disabled player exceptions are rare in the NBA, but recently the Mavericks (JJ Barea), Grizzlies (Dillon Brooks) and Wizards (John Wall) have received them. In order for the exception to be granted, an NBA-designated physician must determine that the player is likely to miss the entire season.
The money from the exception can only be used on a single player, who can sign as a free agent, be claimed off waivers or be acquired in a trade. Traditionally disabled player exceptions are not used very often, so don’t expect the Lakers to scramble to find somewhere to spend the extra money. According to ESPN’s Bobby Marks, as of this past January only 29 percent of disabled player exceptions had been used.
While the Lakers likely won’t be able to use the exception to acquire anyone of Cousins’ talent, it’s a nice backup plan in a league where every dollar counts.