The South Florida Sun-Sentinel’s Ira Winderman reported today that the Miami Heat have applied for the disabled player exception after small forward Justise Winslow’s season-ending surgery.
Heat GM Andy Elisburg said team will apply for disabled player exception for Winslow. Can use it until March 10.— Ira Winderman (@IraHeatBeat) January 6, 2017
The exception would allow the Heat to spend up to $1.3 million to sign a free agent for the rest of the season. Miami could also use the exception to trade for a player in the last year of a contract valued at $1.3 million or less.
It does not open up a roster spot for the Heat, though, and Miami is already at the league limit of 15 players. Of course, one of those players is Chris Bosh — and if you forgot, Pat Riley has already declared Bosh’s career with the Heat “probably over.”
As ESPN’s Zach Lowe said before the season started, the most likely scenario to end the Bosh/Heat saga will be for the Heat to wait until after March 1 to waive Bosh, so he is not eligible to appear in the playoffs for any team that signs him. After that, Bosh’s huge salary would disappear from Miami’s cap sheet.
With the Heat standing as the 13th-best team in the Eastern Conference, it’s unlikely that Miami will look to sign a veteran hoping to make playoff contributions, like Joe Johnson last year. And it’s unfortunate that Winslow will spend the rest of the year rehabbing instead of developing his game. But this Disabled Player Exception could allow the Heat to sign a slightly better player after waiving Bosh than they otherwise would have.