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The Brooklyn Nets were notified Tuesday night that they've been granted a $5.25 million Disabled Player Exception for center Brook Lopez, according to sources familiar with the league's decision. The exception expires March 10.
According to ESPN salary cap expert Larry Coon's website, the exception allows the Nets to sign a free agent to a one-year contract for the amount of the non-taxpayer mid-level exception ($5.15 million) plus $100,000, or trade for a player in the final season of his deal who is making no more than $5.25 million.
Sources say the Nets naturally will explore their options in terms of actually using the DPE, but acquiring a player worth the full amount would trigger an extra $20 million in luxury tax. The Nets' current financial obligation for the season, in terms of payroll and luxury tax, approaches $190 million.
Because the Nets already have the maximum 15 players on their roster, they would have to free up a roster spot should they want to use the DPE.
Lopez was lost for the season Dec. 20 in Philadelphia after fracturing the fifth metatarsal of his right foot.
Mike Mazzeo is a regular contributor to ESPNNewYork.com.