The Miami Heat lost Josh McRoberts for the rest of the season after he underwent surgery to repair the torn lateral meniscus in his right knee last Monday. As a result, the league office has granted the Heat a disabled player exception equal to half his salary, or $2.65 million.
The Heat can use the exception to acquire one player to replace him:
- The Heat can sign a free agent to a contract for the rest of the season only, with a salary of up to $2.65 million.
- The Heat can trade for a player in the last season of his contract only (including any option years), who is making no more than $2.75 million.
- The Heat can claim a player on waivers who is in the last season of his contract only (including any option years), who is making no more than $2.75 million.
McRoberts’ status with the team will not be affected. He will continue to count as one of the NBA-maximum 15 players on the roster. He can return to the active roster before season’s end if he is able to do so (and any replacement player would not be affected). He can be traded while injured. However, if he does return or is traded before the Heat has used the exception, the team would lose it. Otherwise, it expires on March 10.
The Heat had hoped to use the exception to lure free agent forward Josh Smith to Miami. The Detroit Pistons made an abrupt and shocking move to release Smith last Monday, despite $36 million in guaranteed money still to be paid on his contract. Players that good who are owed that much money virtually never hit the open market in such fashion. Smith, however, chose to sign with the Houston Rockets.
The Heat must now look elsewhere in its search for a player who can replace the injured McRoberts and help improve a thin power rotation. Potential targets are both intriguing and problematic. Read more…