If granted by the NBA the exception would be worth about half of Ball’s salary (around $10.2 million) and it allows a team to replace a player who is out for the season. The Bulls would be allowed to trade or claim a player only in the final year of their contract or sign a free agent to a one-year deal.
However, adding a player does affect the team’s salary cap hit. Chicago is currently $9 million below the luxury tax, according to ESPN’s Bobby Marks.
Bulls vice president Arturas Karnisovas said on draft night that the team did not expect Ball, who has not played since Jan. 2022, to return for this upcoming season. Ball underwent cartilage transplant surgery in March.
The Bulls have already agreed to a pair of contracts with guards since free agency began: Coby White to a three-year, $40 million deal and free agent Jevon Carter on a three-year, $20 million contract.
The team has also expressed interest in re-signing guard Ayo Dosunmu, who is a restricted free agent.
The Athletic first reported the Bulls applying for the exception
Source – Bulls apply for designated player exception for Lonzo Ball