In certain NBA trade scenarios, a team can acquire a traded player exception, which is worth a specific amount of money and can be used at any time over the next year. These trade exceptions allow teams to acquire one or more players without sending any salary back. However, if a team has obtained multiple trade exceptions, it can't combine them to acquire a more expensive player.
When the Mavericks worked out a sign-and-trade deal to send Tyson Chandler to the Knicks prior to the season, the Mavs acquired a traded player exception worth about $13.11MM -- Chandler's 2011/12 cap figure. The Mavs used most of that exception to absorb Lamar Odom's salary in a trade with the Lakers, who in turn received a trade exception worth Odom's $8.9MM cap figure. Now, the Mavs have about $4.21MM of their exception remaining, while the Lakers have yet to use their $8.9MM exception.
A number of trade exceptions were obtained leading up to last season's February 24th trade deadline, and are set to expire within the next ten days. Teams aren't obligated to use their exceptions -- the amounts of some exceptions aren't substantial enough to be useful, and most will simply expire quietly. But they're worth keeping an eye on over the next week and a half.
Here's the complete list of trade exceptions due to expire by next Friday:
Storytellers Contracts was used in the creation of this list.