Miami Heat about to lose added financial flexibility from $1.3 million disabled player exception

Justise Winslow #20 of the Miami Heat looks on during a game against the Indiana Pacers at American Airlines Arena on December 14, 2016 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

MIAMI — The Heat received some added financial flexibility in January, but it’s about to disappear.

Miami’s $1.3 million disabled player exception for Justise Winslow’s season-ending injury expires today (Friday), and it looks like it will go unused. The Heat applied for the exception after Winslow suffered a torn labrum in his right shoulder that required surgery in January.

The disabled player exception can be used to sign a free agent on a salary up to $1.3 million for the rest of the season, to trade for a player in the final season of his contract worth $1.3 million or less, or to claim a player on waivers who is in the final season of his contract worth $1.3 million or less.

The disabled player exception is granted if an NBA-designated physician determines the injured player is “substantially more likely than not” to be unable to play through June 15. The exception is worth 50 percent of the disabled player’s salary, which in this case is $1.3 million of Winslow’s $2.6 million salary this season.

With a full 15-man roster, Miami hasn’t felt the need to use the exception to add a player. At this point, the Heat would have to release a player to make room for an addition.

Chris Bosh is still taking up one of Miami’s 15 roster spots despite being away from the team since failing his preseason physical in September due to ongoing blood clot issues.

The Heat are expected to release Bosh and apply for salary-cap relief from his contract before free agency this upcoming summer, but there are a few months between now and then. Miami is not expected to make that move until it needs his roster spot to add a player.

Although the Heat have not used the disabled player exception, it was still a smart move to apply for it. Miami has the added financial flexibility if it needs it, and if the exception goes unused then it just expires with the Heat losing nothing in the transaction.

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