How Teams Are Using 2017/18 Bi-Annual Exceptions

The bi-annual exception is one of the tools available to NBA teams who are over the cap, giving those clubs the flexibility to offer free agents more than the minimum salary. In 2017/18, the bi-annual exception is worth $3.29MM, and can be used to offer a deal worth up to about $6.745MM over two years.

However, the bi-annual exception isn’t available to every team. Clubs that go below the cap in order to use cap room lose access to the exception. Additionally, using the BAE imposes a hard cap on a club, as we discussed on Tuesday. So if a team intends to surpass the tax apron – or wants to retain the flexibility to do so – that team is ineligible to use the bi-annual exception.

Finally, as its name suggests, the bi-annual exception can’t be used by a team in consecutive years. In 2016/17, only three teams stayed over the cap all year, and two of those clubs – the Raptors and Cavaliers – didn’t use their bi-annual exceptions. However, the Clippers used theirs, meaning it isn’t available to the team during the 2017/18 league year — they’ll be able to use it again next summer.

With all those factors in mind, here’s a breakdown of how teams are using – or not using – their respective bi-annual exceptions in 2017/18:

BAE Still Available:

  • Charlotte Hornets
  • Chicago Bulls
  • Dallas Mavericks
  • Milwaukee Bucks
  • New Orleans Pelicans
  • San Antonio Spurs
  • Toronto Raptors

Unless a taxpaying team drastically cuts costs at some point, the seven clubs listed above are the only teams that could still use their bi-annual exception at some point during the 2017/18 season. Even in these cases, there’s no guarantee that the BAE will be available all season.

The Bulls, for instance, could decide to dip below the cap to use cap room at some point, forfeiting their bi-annual exception. Meanwhile, teams like the Hornets, Bucks, and Raptors are hovering near tax territory, and may not want to use their respective BAEs, given their proximity to the apron.

BAE Unavailable:


Went under cap:

  • Atlanta Hawks
  • Boston Celtics
  • Brooklyn Nets
  • Denver Nuggets
  • Indiana Pacers
  • Los Angeles Lakers
  • Miami Heat
  • Minnesota Timberwolves
  • New York Knicks
  • Orlando Magic
  • Philadelphia 76ers
  • Phoenix Suns
  • Sacramento Kings
  • Utah Jazz

Over or near tax apron:

  • Cleveland Cavaliers
  • Golden State Warriors
  • Oklahoma City Thunder
  • Portland Trail Blazers
  • Washington Wizards

Used last year:

  • Los Angeles Clippers
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