Tuesday, August 9

What is the NBA financial hardship exception? Explaining the rules, 10-day contracts to sign replacement players.



The Bulls have been dealing with a limited roster lately.

In addition to sophomore Patrick Williams being out indefinitely with a wrist injury, the Bulls have had the majority of their team enter the NBA’s COVID-19 health and safety protocols for the past several weeks, including Zach LaVine and DeMar DeRozan. It has led to two of his games being postponed.

MORE: Explanation of NBA COVID-19 Health and Safety Protocols

With several players out of the game, the Bulls added two players in Alfonzo McKinnie and Stanley Johnson through the league’s distress exception in the second week of December. Since then, they have added two more players in trouble deals at Mac McClung and Ersan Ilyasova.

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What is the NBA Hardship Exception?

This is how the exception for difficulties in the NBA Constitution and Bylaws:

In the event that the application of the provisions of these Bylaws related to the Players Lists and the replacement of Players cause, in any particular case, extreme difficulties, said provisions, upon request by the Member alleging difficulties, may be annulled. or modified. and special rules may be invoked for the Member claiming such hardship; provided, however, such provisions can only be overridden or modified by the affirmative vote of a majority of the entire Board of Governors (the Governor representing the Member alleging difficulties without voting). Notwithstanding the foregoing, in the event that a Member has three (3) Players on their Active List and / or Inactive List who are unable to perform gaming services due to injury or illness and said Member has an additional Player who is not can play the game. services due to injury or illness, he may substitute a Player in his place after the following have occurred:

  • (a) each of the three (3) injured or ill Players and the additional injured or ill Player have missed a minimum of three (3) consecutive games due to injury or illness; Y
  • (b) the Commissioner’s Office has determined, through an independent physician, if necessary, that at the time the Player’s replacement is signed, each of the three (3) injured or ill Players on the Active List and / or Inactive Member, and the additional injured or ill Player, will continue to be unable to perform gaming services due to injury or illness.

The Commissioner, in his sole discretion, may allow a Member to replace additional injured or ill Players on that Member’s Active or Inactive List.

In simpler terms, the hardship waiver is a temporary roster spot that allows teams to exceed the 15-man roster cap in times of need (multiple players are out due to injury or illness). Temporary is the key word. As caption expert Danny Leroux explained, “When one of the four players can return to action, the 15-player roster limit goes back into effect and the team must comply immediately.”

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How NBA Teams Have Used the Hardship Exception

In the case of the Bulls, with multiple players out for an extended period of time, they were allowed to sign McKinnie, Johnson, McClung and Ilyasova without having to cut or resign anyone on their roster.

Many other teams are currently dealing with COVID-19 outbreaks and have used the hardship exception to ensure they have enough players to play.

Notable players who have signed Hardship deals

  • Lance Stephenson, Falcons
  • CJ Miles, Celtics
  • Isaiah Thomas, Lakers
  • Langston Galloway, Networks
  • Ersan Ilyasova, Bulls




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