Thirteen teams made use of the mid-level exception this year, going with different strategies as they did so. Some teams deployed the full mid-level, with a starting salary of $5MM, while others used the taxpayer's mid-level of $3.09MM, which allowed them to exceed the $74.307MM tax apron. Many teams committed all of their mid-level to one player, while some split it up to sign multiple guys.
Still, a couple of common themes developed. Most of the best signings involved players who came off the bench and shot well from behind the arc. We'll chronicle this year's top mid-level signings here, in no particular order:
- Louis Williams, Hawks (three years, $15.675MM): Atlanta committed its full non-taxpayer's mid-level to the former Sixer, and he carried his off-the-bench scoring punch to the Hawks, averaging 14.1 PPG in 28.7 MPG until he tore his right ACL in January.
- Kyle Singler, Pistons (three years, $3.135MM): Usually, teams use their mid-level exceptions for veterans, but occasionally they use a part of them to lock up their second-round picks, and that's what Detroit did with Singler, their 2011 second-round selection who spent last season overseas. Singler started 74 games and displayed a decent stroke from outside, hitting 35% of his three-point attempts.
- Carl Landry, Warriors (two years, $8MM): Golden State became a playoff team thanks in part to Landry's contributions as the first big man off the bench. He averaged 9.3 rebounds per 36 minutes, his best rate since he was a rookie.
- Jamal Crawford, Clippers (four years, $21.35MM): His final two seasons are partially guaranteed, which prevents the deal from being the best possible mid-level arrangement for a player, but Crawford sure looks like he deserved all he could get. He made a push for an All-Star berth and the Sixth Man of the Year award, and led the team in points per 36 minutes, with 20.3.
- Ray Allen, Heat (two years, $6,319,050): Miami used its full taxpayer's mid-level and got just what they were looking for in Allen, a sharpshooter who came off the bench and enhanced the team's floor spacing on offense. He shot 41.9% from three-point land, bettering his career mark.
- Randy Foye, Jazz (one year, $2.5MM): The small size and short length of this contract have as much to do with its inclusion on this list as Foye's performance. Still, the former No. 7 overall pick started 72 games this season, the most in his career, and he shot 41% from three-point range. The Jazz still might have been better off if they had been able to bring Foye and his shooting off the bench, as other teams did with their mid-level signings this year.
- Martell Webster, Wizards (one year, $1.75MM): Few would have predicted that Webster, a cousin of Jason Terry, would have outperformed his relative, but that's what happened this season. Webster set career marks in PPG (11.4) and three-point percentage (42.2%), prompting the Wizards to prioritize re-signing him this summer. They'll probably need to give him a raise to make that happen.
Storytellers Contracts was used in the creation of this post.