How They Were Signed: Early Bird & Non-Bird Exception

After 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 lesser-used forms of the Bird exception. These variations to the Bird exception are the Early Bird exception and the Non-Bird exception. Both exceptions are similar to the Bird exception in that they were designed to allow teams to re-sign their players regardless of that NBA team’s current cap space.

As we discussed previously, in order for a player to earn their Bird rights they need to play for their NBA team for at least three seasons. However, a player can earn their Early Bird rights after playing for a team for only two seasons. Once a player has earned those rights their NBA team can re-sign that player for up to four years for either 175% of that player’s previous year’s salary or the league-average salary, whichever is greater. Whatever the first year salary becomes under this exception, the team may raise that player’s salary each year up to 7.5% of the previous year’s salary. More details on the Early Bird exception can be read here.

Even less playing time is needed for a player to earn their Non-Bird rights. If a player ends a season on an NBA roster, they are eligible for Non-Bird rights. Once a player has earned those rights, their NBA team can re-sign that player for the greatest of 1) 120% of the player’s previous salary, 2) 120% of the minimum salary, or 3) the amount of a qualifying offer that player may have if they are a restricted free agent. Once the first year salary is agreed upon, the team can sign that player for up to four years and give them up to 4.5% annual raises each year. More details on the Non-Bird exception can be read here.

Below is a team-by-team list of players who were signed using the Early Bird or Non-Bird exception. It is assumed the players signed via the Early Bird exception unless otherwise noted.

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

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