How Teams Are Using 2018/19 Mid-Level Exceptions

In addition to receiving nearly $102MM in cap room and being allowed to surpass that threshold in order to sign players using Bird Rights or the minimum salary exception, each NBA team also receives a mid-level exception. The value of this exception varies depending on a club’s total team salary.

A team that goes under the cap to use its available cap room, for instance, receives only a modest form of the MLE known as the room exception. An over-the-cap team receives the full mid-level exception, unless that team is also over the tax line, in which case it gets a taxpayer version of the MLE that falls in between the full MLE and the room exception. We detailed the exact values of each form of mid-level exception earlier this offseason, but here’s a quick breakdown:

  • Room exception: Can be used for contracts up to two years, with a starting salary worth up to $4.449MM.
  • Taxpayer mid-level exception: Can be used for contracts up to three years, with a starting salary worth up to $5.337MM.
  • Full mid-level exception: Can be used for contracts up to four years, with a starting salary worth up to $8.641MM.

Now that a majority of the NBA’s teams have used up their cap space, it’s worth keeping an eye on which teams still have part or all of their mid-level exceptions available, which we’ll do in the space below. This list will be kept up to date throughout the 2018/19 league year.

Here’s where things currently stand:


Mid-Level Exception:

Boston Celtics

  • Available: $5,337,000 (taxpayer)
  • Used: $0

Charlotte Hornets

Cleveland Cavaliers

  • Available: $8,641,000
  • Used: $0

Denver Nuggets

Detroit Pistons

Golden State Warriors

Houston Rockets

Los Angeles Clippers

Memphis Grizzlies

Miami Heat

  • Available: $5,337,000 (taxpayer)
  • Used: $0

Milwaukee Bucks

Minnesota Timberwolves

New Orleans Pelicans

New York Knicks

Oklahoma City Thunder

Orlando Magic

Portland Trail Blazers

San Antonio Spurs

Toronto Raptors

  • Available: $5,337,000 (taxpayer)
  • Used: $0

Utah Jazz

  • Available: $8,641,000
  • Used: $0

Washington Wizards


Room Exception:

Atlanta Hawks

  • Available: $99,000
  • Used: $4,350,000 (Alex Len)

Brooklyn Nets

  • Available: $0
  • Used: $4,449,000 (Ed Davis)

Chicago Bulls

  • Available: $4,449,000
  • Used: $0

Dallas Mavericks

  • Available: $4,449,000
  • Used: $0

Indiana Pacers

Los Angeles Lakers

Philadelphia 76ers

  • Available: $4,449,000
  • Used: $0

Phoenix Suns

  • Available: $4,449,000
  • Used: $0

Sacramento Kings

  • Available: $4,449,000
  • Used: $0

Salary information from Basketball Insiders and ESPN was used in the creation of this post.

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7 thoughts on “How Teams Are Using 2018/19 Mid-Level Exceptions

  1. hopper15

    The Cavs have been paying the luxury tax the last 2 years. How do they have the non tax payers MLE?

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      • hopper15

        They should still have only the Tax payers MLE. Now next offseason is a different story.

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        • Luke Adams

          The type of MLE a team has available is dependent on its current-year team salary — previous seasons’ payrolls have no impact on that.

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            • Luke Adams

              It really is! It’s possible the Cavs will still be limited to the taxpayer MLE if they re-sign Hood and/or make some other moves that increase their team salary, but for now they have access to the full MLE.

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