By Michael Bennett
The Wizards have filed an application with the NBA office to be granted a $9.3 million disabled player exception for injured point guard John Wall, according to Sam Vecenie of The Athletic.
The team has yet to be informed as to whether or not the application has been granted or denied.
If granted, the Wizards will be given the full non-taxpayer mid-level exception to use to either sign a player, trade for a player or make a waiver claim — a $9.258 million asset they could use throughout the 2019-20 season for any of the aforementioned transactions.
It’s very likely the NBA will be willing to grant this exception, considering the unfortunate nature of Wall’s injury, which could sideline him for the entire 2019-20 season.
Wall underwent surgery to repair a Haglund’s deformity and a chronic Achilles injury in his left heel in January, after managing to play through the pain for more than a year. Unfortunately, he then tore his Achilles when he slipped and fell in his home nearly a month later.
The Wizards expected him to spend at least 12 months in recovery, but noted it could take longer than that for him to fully heal from these nagging injuries.
Wall played in only 32 games last season, averaging 20.7 points, 8.7 assists, 3.6 rebounds, and 1.5 steals throughout his cut-short campaign. In 2017-18, he appeared in only 41 of the team’s 82 games, returning in time to make a postseason push and ultimately seeing defeat at the hands of the Toronto Raptors.
The Wizards have dealt with a load of Wall’s injury woes, and to make matters worse, the North Carolina native is set to make a whopping $171 million over the next four seasons, a contract that is considered untradable at this point in time.
Getting that $9.3 million mid-level hardship exception would be a small drop in the bucket for the Wizards, who hope to navigate this season without the All-Star backcourt they paid to guide them to the promised land.