How Teams Are Using Room Exception, MLE

The NBA’s salary cap is a soft one, and that’s perhaps no better demonstrated than by the existence of the room exception. A form of the mid-level exception, it’s available for teams that have gone under the cap but spent their cap room. In other words, it’s essentially bonus cap room.

This year, the room exception is worth $2.898MM, and teams can use it to give two-year deals that include a 4.5% raise in the second season. So, the greatest total amount a player can receive using the room exception is $5,926,410. That’s not a lot, but it is significantly more than a two-year minimum-salary contract would entail, even for a veteran of 10 or more seasons.

Due to the rising NBA salary cap, more teams than ever have the room exception available to them this year. A year ago, 13 teams stayed over the cap in the offseason, while 17 went under. This time around, the number of teams staying over the cap has dipped to just three — the Clippers, Raptors, and world-champion Cavaliers. That means the league’s other 27 teams will all have the option of using the room exception during the 2016/17 league year.

Below, we’ve detailed how those 27 teams have used – or not used – the room exception so far. We’ve also made a note on how the Clippers, Raps, and Cavs have used their MLEs. This list will be kept up to date throughout the year, and can be found on our right-hand sidebar under “Hoops Rumors Features.”

Room Exception (used):

  • Atlanta Hawks
  • Dallas Mavericks
  • Golden State Warriors
  • Houston Rockets
    • Used: $2,898,000 (Nene)
    • Available: $0
  • Memphis Grizzlies
  • Miami Heat
  • New Orleans Pelicans
  • New York Knicks
  • San Antonio Spurs
  • Washington Wizards
    • Used: $1,200,000 (Brandon Jennings)
    • Available: $1,698,000

Room Exception (unused):

  • Boston Celtics (cap space remaining)
  • Brooklyn Nets (cap space remaining)
  • Charlotte Hornets
  • Chicago Bulls
  • Denver Nuggets (cap space remaining)
  • Detroit Pistons
  • Indiana Pacers (cap space remaining)
  • Los Angeles Lakers
  • Milwaukee Bucks
  • Minnesota Timberwolves (cap space remaining)
  • Oklahoma City Thunder (cap space remaining)
  • Orlando Magic
  • Philadelphia 76ers (cap space remaining)
  • Phoenix Suns (cap space remaining)
  • Portland Trail Blazers
  • Sacramento Kings
  • Utah Jazz (cap space remaining)

Mid-Level Exception (used):

Information from Basketball Insiders was used in the creation of this post. Chuck Myron contributed to this post.

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