Andre Drummond talks after the Pistons' win over the Trail Blazers. Rod Beard, The Detroit News
The Pistons got a little bit of good news on Tuesday regarding their salary-cap situation.
The NBA granted the Pistons a Disabled Player Exception (DPE), which could potentially help with their salary situation.
The DPE is a provision that allows teams some leverage with the salary cap after a catastrophic injury to help in managing the cap, potentially by picking up another player.
Pistons forward Jon Leuer suffered an ankle injury Oct. 31 and didn’t return. Leuer experienced complications from the injury, including bone fragments in his ligaments. He had season-ending surgery on his left ankle on Jan. 26.
The DPE provides the Pistons with about $5.25 million — half of Leuer’s salary of $10.5 million — in a trade exception, meaning they could trade a minimum-salary and in return receive a contract up to $5.25 million.
The tricky part for the Pistons is that the DPE doesn’t create a roster spot, so they most likely would have to open a spot by either negotiating a multi-player trade — such as sending out two players and getting one in return — or releasing a player. It’s not clear whether the Pistons are pursuing such a move, but It’s another option for them to consider ahead of Thursday’s NBA trade deadline, to help augment the roster after the addition of Blake Griffin last week. Since the deal, they’ve won four straight games and are just outside the eighth spot in the Eastern Conference playoff picture.
The Pistons also have a trade exception of $7 million, created in the deal with the Clippers to obtain Griffin. That provision is good for up to a year, though it also does not provide an open roster spot; the Pistons would have to free a spot to utilize that cap space as well.
The biggest need for the Pistons could be a perimeter player, as they traded two of their wings, Avery Bradley and Tobias Harris, in the Clippers deal, and did not receive a wing back. They’ve had illnesses and injuries that have shortened their rotation, opening an opportunity for two-way players Reggie Hearn and Kay Felder to play in Monday night’s win over the Portland Trail Blazers.