Trail Blazers granted $5.8 million DPE for Robert Williams III

The NBA granted the Portland Trail Blazers a $5.8 million disabled player exception in the wake of center Robert Williams III’s season-ending knee injury, according to sources.

Williams, 26, injured his right knee on Nov. 5 during a 112-100 loss to the Memphis Grizzlies at the Moda Center. The 6-foot-9 center then underwent season-ending surgery days later.

Per multiple NBA betting sites, the Portland Trail Blazers hold 29th-ranked odds to win this season’s championship. Sportsbooks are showing better odds for the New Orleans Pelicans and Houston Rockets.

In August 2021, Williams signed a four-year, $48 million contract extension with the Boston Celtics. His salary this season is $11.57 million. He is slated to earn $12.42 million in 2024-25 and $13.28 million in 2025-26.

On Oct. 1, the Celtics traded Williams and 2023 NBA Sixth Man of the Year guard Malcolm Brogdon to Portland for ex-Milwaukee Bucks guard Jrue Holiday. The Trail Blazers also received a 2024 first-round pick via Golden State and a 2029 first-round pick.

Portland Trail Blazers have until March 10 to use $5.8 million disabled player exception for Robert Williams III

Williams had $1.44 million in unlikely incentives this season. The Texas A&M product would have earned that amount had he played at least 69 regular-season games, earned an All-Defensive selection, and the Trail Blazers advanced to the conference semifinals.

In six games off the bench with Portland this season, Williams averaged 6.8 points, 6.3 rebounds, 1.2 steals, 1.2 blocks, and 19.8 minutes per game. Plus, the Louisiana native shot 65.4% from the field and 77.8% at the foul line.

Additionally, in Portland’s 123-111 season-opener loss to the Los Angeles Clippers on Oct. 25, the center recorded 10 points, seven boards, three steals, and one block in 24 minutes as a reserve.

Last season, Williams made 20 starts in 35 appearances with the Celtics. He averaged 8.0 points, 8.3 rebounds, 1.4 assists, 1.4 blocks, and 23.5 minutes per contest.

Portland has a March 10 deadline to use the $5.8 million exception, which would allow the club to make a trade, a waiver claim, or a free agent signing. The Trail Blazers currently have 15 players under contract.

Moreover, Portland has two trade exceptions ($8.8 million, $8.3 million) and the full $12.4 million non-taxpayer exception. The Blazers are $3.5 million under the luxury tax threshold.

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