How They Were Signed: Bird Exception

Continuing the discussion of how players have signed around the league, we now look at the very popular exception – the Bird exception. The Bird exception is named after Larry Bird and lets teams go over the salary cap to re-sign their own players. The purpose of this exception is to allow teams to re-sign their star players regardless of their current cap situation.

Very briefly, a player can become eligible to be re-signed under the Bird exception if they have played on the same team for three years or longer. There are many more rules to this exception and a more detailed breakdown of those rules can be viewed here.

If a player signs a contract with the Bird exception they are eligible to sign a max salary contract that increases up to 7.5% each year for a maximum of five years.  The maximum salary amount is determined by the amount of years the player has played in the NBA. For example, the maximum salary in 2013/14 for a player with 0-6 years’ experience is $13.70MM, 7-9 years’ experience $16.44MM, and 10+ years’ experience $19.18MM.

A team is also allowed to sign players under what is called the Non-Bird Exception, and Early Bird Exception but we will focus on those another time. For now, below is a team by team list of players who were signed using the Bird Exception.

StorytellersContracts and ShamSports were used in the creation of this post.

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[…] looking at the frequently used Bird exception earlier this week, we will now inspect which NBA players have been signed to their current contracts using one of the […]


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