Back on January 3, New Orleans Pelicans power forward Ryan Anderson suffered a pretty serious back injury when Boston Celtics' forward Gerald Wallace collided with him. Anderson ended up with a herniated disc in his back and will be out until mid-March before doctors decided whether or not he needs neck surgery similar to what Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning had done.
With Anderson expected to miss so much time and possibly the rest of the regular season, it looks like the league is likely to grant New Orleans the Disabled Players' Exception. According to Marc Stein of ESPN.com, the Pelicans would receive the exception, which can be used to sign or trade for a player, worth around $4 million.
Interesting Trade Deadline Week wrinkle: Hearing Pelicans poised to receive Disabled Player Exception in $4 mil range for Ryan Anderson— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) February 18, 2014
Anderson makes roughly $8.3 million this season. The DPE awarded is always the lesser of either half the player's salary or the amount of the non-taxpayer's mid-level exception. This gives the Pelicans some potential flexibility with the trade deadline on Thursday for getting a deal done. New Orleans can essentially absorb a player's contract, giving their trade partner some salary or luxury tax relief in the process.
The player acquired would have to be someone whose contract expires at the end of the season. If the Pelicans can't work out a trade using the exception, they'll have until March 15 to sign a player with it. Any player released or waived after March 1 would not be eligible for postseason play. The Pelicans are currently 7.5 games out of the 8-seed with a record of 23-29.