What can Celtics do with Danilo Gallinari disabled player exception?

Forsberg: How can Celtics use Gallinari disabled player exception? originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston

The Boston Celtics possess a $3.2 million disabled player exception to utilize with Danilo Gallinari likely to miss the entirety of the 2022-23 season while rehabbing from an ACL tear.

The biggest difference between the DPE and the more lucrative traded player exceptions that Boston already possessed is that the DPE can be used to sign a free agent. That could be a particularly valuable asset for the Celtics to outbid other contenders, likely limited to minimum contracts, in the quest for buyout players before the DPE expires on March 10.

Also important: The granting of the DPE does not prohibit Gallinari from returning this season should he rehab in time to rejoin the team during its playoff run. An NBA physician has simply deemed it likely that Gallinari is unlikely to return before the end of the season.

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The DPE can only be used to acquire a player in the final year of their contract. The Celtics also do not get any salary cap or luxury tax relief as part of the signing, which could make the team think a little harder about using it while already nearly $20 million over the tax line. Boston also does not generate an extra roster spot from the DPE and would need to clear a spot with its roster currently at the 15-man limit.

The Celtics have a collection of traded player exceptions that can also be utilized to add talent this season. Some are more lucrative than the DPE, including a $6.9 million Juancho Hernangomez TPE that expires in January.

The DPE can be used to acquire only one player, while TPEs can be split between multiple trade targets. Most importantly -- and this needs to be stressed before you fire up the Trade Machine -- neither the DPE or any TPEs can be combined together, or with other player salary, to acquire a player with a contract above their value.

So what does this all mean for the Celtics in the near-term?

If Boston was worried about big-man depth, it could have signed any veteran player to a minimum deal much like they did with Blake Griffin during training camp. The team appears likely to wait to see if there’s a more robust collection of available free agents -- or trade targets in their final season -- who might be of interest closer to the trade deadline, or the March expiration of the DPE.