In the aftermath of the gruesome leg injury suffered by their superstar Paul George during last week’s USA Basketball exhibition games, the Indiana Pacers will apply for the Disabled Player Exception, as per report of nba.com’s David Aldridge.
One Year Deal
Under NBA rules, the Disabled Player Exception allows a team who loses a player to injury for one season, to sign a free agent to a one-year contract equivalent to the non-taxpayer’s mid-level exception or 50% of the injured player’s salary, whichever is lower. In the case of the Pacers’ Paul George, that amount is the mid-level exception of $5.3M.
Chasing the Matrix
The Pacers are reportedly in hot pursuit of Dallas Mavericks’ forward Shawn Marion, who is still a free agent late in the summer. Marion is also being eyed by LeBron James’ Cleveland Cavaliers but hasn’t finalized a deal yet. Once granted, the Indiana Pacers can use the Exception to sign free agents like Marion. However, with management’s known stand against the NBA’s luxury tax, it remains to be seen how much of the $5.3M would they will be willing to use, especially since they are $1.6M away from the luxury tax borderline.
The injury to Paul George has left this Pacers’ squad without their two best players as Lance Stephenson already walked his way to the Charlotte Hornets after being “low-balled” by the Pacers. Stephenson was the Pacers’ team leader in assists at 4.6 dimes per game. He also averaged 13.8 points and 7.2 rebounds per game last season.
On the other hand, George is irreplaceable for the Pacers. The 24 year old forward was having the best season of his NBA career during the 2013-14 season. George averaged 21.7 points, 6.8 rebounds, 3.5 assists and 1.9 steals per game for the Pacers. George wasn’t just an offensive threat, he was one of the best on-ball defenders in the NBA and was undoubtedly the leader of the young Indiana squad.
Replacing George would be impossible, and using the Disabled Player Exception only gives them a little more flexibility. George and Lance Stephenson had a combined 18.2 win shares last season. And despite adding Rodney Stuckey, C.J. Miles and another free agent using the disabled player exception, it’s unlikely that the Pacers will be near the 56 win mark of last season.