2011/12 Mid-Level Exceptions Update

At this point in the season, the list of available free agents has thinned out considerably, to the point where teams typically aren't signing players for salaries larger than the minimum. However, with J.R. Smith and others potentially arriving back in America in the coming weeks, it's worth a look to see which clubs still have some flexibility. As long as a team is below the luxury tax line, it may still have its $5MM mid-level exception available to sign a player.

We already covered the remaining mid-level exceptions available to taxpaying teams, so let's take a look now at the status of this season's MLEs for non-taxpayers. The amount of these exceptions will be pro-rated starting on Friday.

Available (Full)

  • Magic
  • Nuggets
  • Pistons
  • 76ers

Available (Partial)

  • Bobcats: They have the equivalent of a $2.5MM mini mid-level remaining, having used half of their MLE to sign Reggie Williams to a two-year deal.
  • Grizzlies: They used $2MM to sign Dante Cunningham and another $550K on Josh Selby, leaving them with $2.45MM. The Grizzlies are hovering right around the tax line after waiving Josh Davis today, so I doubt they'll be adding any more salary.
  • Hawks: While they haven't spent any of their $5MM, using their full MLE would take them more than $4MM above the tax line, which isn't permitted. I don't expect them to increase their payroll either though.
  • Hornets: They have about $3.43MM remaining on their MLE after signing Gustavo Ayon to a three-year deal. As a league-owned franchise though, the Hornets aren't likely to use the rest of it.
  • Jazz: After signing Earl Watson to a two-year deal starting at $2MM and inking Josh Howard for one year at $2.15MM, they have just $850K remaining on their MLE — not enough for a signing of any impact.
  • Thunder: Curiously, they used $475K of their mid-level to sign Ryan Reid to a salary slightly above the minimum — perhaps so they could add an extra year to his deal. Still, the Thunder have most of their MLE left if they want to use it.


Note: Teams who used room below the cap to sign players forfeited their full mid-level exception, but may still have leftover cap room or their $2.5MM mini mid-level available. Explanations of salary cap exceptions can be found in our glossary.

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