NBA grants Bulls $10.2 million disabled player exception for Lonzo Ball

Ball has not played for the Bulls since the 2021-22 season, undergoing three left knee surgeries in that time. The team is still holding out hope that he can be back for the 2024-25 season.

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Lonzo Ball

According to the Bulls, the NBA has granted the organization a $10.2 million disabled player exception for the season-ending loss of point guard Lonzo Ball.

Michael Wyke/AP

Finally, the Bulls received some positive news on point guard Lonzo Ball.

And, no, it has nothing to do with him returning from a left knee injury anytime soon.

Bulls public relations confirmed Thursday that the NBA granted the organization a $10.2 million disabled player exception for the season-ending loss of Ball.

It doesn’t mean the Bulls will spend above the luxury tax, but it gives them options in the 2023-24 season.

Ball signed a four-year, $80 million deal in the 2021 offseason and appeared to be more than worth the contract through the first 35 games of the season. Not only did he help the Bulls reach the top of the Eastern Conference, but he was shooting a career-best 42.3% from three and was one of the key reasons the defense ranked in the top 10 in the NBA.

A knee injury suffered in January of that season was first diagnosed as a bone bruise and eventually led to surgery. Ball has had two more surgeries since, including a cartilage transplant at the end of this past season.

While the sample size is small, no NBA player has ever come back fully from such a surgery, the Bulls still are counting on Ball to be the first.

It won’t happen this upcoming season. Executive vice president of basketball operations Arturas Karnisovas ruled out Ball months ago.

Ball does have a $21.4 million player option for the 2024-25 season. The Bulls hope he can be back on the court by then.

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