With the NBA trade deadline just around the corner, everyone’s attention is now on their mobile devices and TV screens, as they wait for the latest development right off the NBA trading floor.

ESPN has been one of the go-to-sites when it comes to entertaining and informative sports-related contents, particularly intriguing NBA stories. And why not? The sports media giant has amassed a formidable group of experts and reporters with impressive track records. In simple words, they know what they are talking about.

That wasn’t the case Tuesday morning when their resident cap analyst Tom Penn made a mistake that didn’t sit well with NBA cap junkies.

In a telestrator segment designed to break down the Boston Celtics’ game-plan at the trade deadline, the former NBA executive, for unknown reasons or perhaps lacking thorough research, came up with a wrong explanation on the usage of the disabled player exemptions.

Penn’s version of the DPE

Penn zealously explained the Celtics’ cap situation and how the $8.4 MM DPE created after Gordon Hayward's season-ending ankle injury would enable them to land another game-changer this season. With $110MM on their payroll, the Celtics are already capped and supposed to have little flexibility to acquire a player who earns more than a veteran minimum salary. However, thanks to the DPE, Boston could actually accommodate a contract that exceeds the vet minimum.

NBA insider Adrian Wojnarowski confirmed that the Celtics have already exhausted their DPE by signing center Greg Monroe on a $5MM deal that runs through the remainder of the season only. The remaining 3.4MM in the DPE shall be forfeited because the exemption can only be used just once, regardless the transaction was a trade or free-agency signing.

However, Penn’s had a different version of the DPE. He believed the Celtics could still use the remainder of the exemption to make a run at another trade target. In Penn’s way of thinking, the Celtics could sign Monroe (free-agency) and absorb Tyreke Evans’ 3.3MM salary for this season via a trade with the use of the same DPE, which is something that contradicts to the nature of this particular exemption.

Any casual NBA fan could have easily overlooked Penn’s blunder. However, for people who have familiarized themselves well with the NBA’s tricky Collective Bargaining Agreement, they found Penn’s explanation of the DPE misleading.

People make mistakes

Of course, there’s no denying that Penn has the experience and know-how when it comes to finding loopholes in the CBA.

In fact, Penn actually served as the vice-president of basketball operations for the Portland Trail Blazers and worked closely with the likes of Kevin Pritchard, Jerry West and Chuck Daly in the front-office.

In 2012, he was close to accepting the role of the GM for the Philadelphia 76ers but he opted to stick with ESPN. No one is questioning Penn’s credibility here. He’s good of a cap expert as advertised. Then again, deep inside he must admit that he screw this one up.