CHICAGO — It may not make a massive impact on a team looking to take a step forward with essentially the same core in 2023-2024, but it will allow them to make an addition to their roster.

This is thanks to a move concerning a Bulls’ point guard who isn’t expected to play this fall and winter.

This week, the NBA granted the designated player exception for Lonzo Ball after it was approved by the league’s “Fitness to Play” panel.

So what does this mean for the Bulls? They can add another player to their roster ahead of the 2023-2024 season without it impacting their salary cap.

There are some restrictions, however, as they look to add this person only for this season due to the designated player exception rules.

  • The Bulls can sign a free agent for one season at 50 percent of Ball’s salary ($10.2 million).
  • They could also trade for or claim a player in the final year of his contract should that person’s salary be at or under $10.2 million plus 100,000, per the rules of the NBA Collective Bargaining Agreement.

Executive vice president Arturas Karnisovas and general manager Marc Eversley will now go to work to figure out how to spend that ahead of the start of training camp in September or decide to use it later in the season.

As for Ball, both executives said that it’s very unlikely that he’ll play this upcoming season, but still expressed hope that he would suit up for the team again. The guard is in the third of a four-year, $80 million contract with a $21.395 million player option for the 2024-2025 season.

So far, Ball has only played in 35 games in a Bulls uniform, with all of those coming in the first half of the 2021-2022 season. He averaged 13 points, 5.4 rebounds, and 5.1 assists per contest before having his first left knee surgery in January 2022.

Ball would have another procedure in September of that year but it didn’t alleviate the pain, so he had a cartilage transplant this March on the left knee in hopes of finally getting back on the floor.