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Heat granted $4.7M disabled-player exception after Leonard injury

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Could Miami use it to sign DeMarcus Cousins?

Miami Heat v Houston Rockets Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images

Shams Charania of The Athletic reported Tuesday that the NBA has granted the Miami Heat’s request for a $4.7 million disabled-player exception after Meyers Leonard suffered a season-ending shoulder injury in January. Disabled player exceptions are worth half of the injured player’s salary.

The Heat have until April 19 to use the exception, and Miami also has a $7.5 million trade exception that expires on March 22. Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald said that because the Heat stand $8 million below the luxury tax, the Heat would likely use either the disabled-player exception or the trade exception — but not both.

DeMarcus Cousins, who recently cleared waivers, could be an option for the Heat with the disabled-player exception. Cousins has been linked to Miami at various points — in the 2019 off-season, and back in 2017 as a potential swap for Hassan Whiteside. Throughout this season, Miami has struggled to find a good frontcourt partner with Bam Adebayo.

Kelly Olynyk is shooting a career-low 33 percent from 3 this season. As a non-shooter, Andre Iguodala hurts Miami’s offense — especially when he’s on the court with Adebayo and Jimmy Butler. And KZ Okpala and Moe Harkless haven’t played well in the opportunities they’ve gotten.

The Houston Rockets released Cousins for a reason — he’s shooting 37.6 percent from the field this season. He’ll be better than the Eddy Curry experiment in 2012, but don’t get your hopes up too high.