The Lakers were recently awarded a disabled player exception for the injured Jordan Hill (hip), giving the team an additional spending tool.
The exception can be used to sign a player for up to $1,781,800 through the remainder of the season. It can be used to trade for a player in the final year of his contract, making up to $1,881,800. In either case, the player cannot be under contract as of July 1.
If the Lakers want to sign a player outright, they do have $1.59 million of their mid-level exception remaining. The team also has three trade exceptions, the largest of which would allow the Lakers to take in a player making up to $1,274,080 this season (regardless of how many years they have left on their contract).
It's also worth noting that teams can always trade for a player making the minimum salary, without sending a salaried player back or using a trade/disabled player exception.
The following is a list of players who make more than the minimum but still fit within the Lakers' disabled player exception (in the final year of their deals):
Ivan Johnson, Atlanta Hawks - $962,195
Dominique Jones, Dallas Mavericks - $1,276,560
Jeff Pendergraph, Indiana Pacers - $1,500,000
Sebastian Telfair, Phoenix Suns - $1,567,500
Nolan Smith, Portland Trail Blazers - $1,365,720
DeJuan Blair, San Antonio Spurs - $1,054,000
Martell Webster, Washington Wizards - $1,750,000
The list is significantly larger when players with minimum contracts are included. Additionally, the Lakers' $1.27 million trade exception adds players on multi-year deals to the list.
Exceptions cannot be combined, so while the Lakers did gain a tool to try to replace Jordan Hill, it's not a particularly powerful one unless one of seven players above are available and desired by the Lakers.
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