The Bulls have been dealing with a limited roster lately.
In addition to sophomore Patrick Williams being on leave indefinitely with a wrist injury, the Bulls face a COVID-19 outbreak as Coby White, Matt Thomas, Derrick Jones Jr., Javonte Green and DeMar DeRozan are currently in the NBA’s health and safety protocols. .
MORE: Explanation of NBA COVID-19 Health and Safety Protocols
With six players offside, the Bulls have added two players in Alfonzo McKinnie and Stanley Johnson through the league’s distress exception.
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What is the NBA Hardship Exception?
Here’s how the hardship exception is explained in the NBA Constitution and Bylaws:
In the event that the application of the provisions of these Bylaws related to the Player Lists and the replacement of Players cause, in any particular case, extreme difficulties, said provisions, at the request of the Member alleging difficulties, may be annulled or modified. . and special rules may be invoked for the Member claiming such hardship; provided, however, that said provisions may only be annulled or modified by the affirmative vote of the majority of the entire Board of Governors (the Governor representing the Member who alleges 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 spot on the roster 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 cap 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.”
How NBA Teams Have Used the Hardship Exception
In the case of the Bulls, with Williams, White, Thomas, Jones, Green and DeRozan out for an extended period of time, they were allowed to sign McKinnie and Johnson without having to cut or resign anyone on their roster.
The team announced that it has signed McKinnie and Johnson to 10-day contracts.
Welcome, @iAmSJ Y @_Target_! pic.twitter.com/IfeJXVSMLm
– Chicago Bulls (@chicagobulls) December 10, 2023
Earlier this month, The Athletic’s Shams Charania reported that the Nuggets, who are also dealing with a limited roster, were ready to sign Davon Reed through the hardship exception. On December 14, the Nuggets announced that they had signed a 10-day contract with Reed.