How Teams Are Using 2019/20 Mid-Level Exceptions

In addition to receiving approximately $109MM 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 $4,767,000.
  • Taxpayer mid-level exception: Can be used for contracts up to three years, with a starting salary worth up to $5,718,000.
  • Full mid-level exception: Can be used for contracts up to four years, with a starting salary worth up to $9,258,000.

Now that nearly all 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 2019/20 league year.

Here’s where things currently stand:


Mid-Level Exception:

Charlotte Hornets

Cleveland Cavaliers

  • Available: $5,718,000 (taxpayer)
    • Note: The Cavaliers are below the tax apron and could theoretically use the non-taxpayer mid-level exception, but they can’t currently use the full amount while staying below the apron.
  • Used: $0

Dallas Mavericks

Denver Nuggets

  • Available: $4,819,690 (taxpayer)
    • Note: The Nuggets are below the tax apron and could theoretically use the non-taxpayer mid-level exception, but they can’t currently use the full amount while staying below the apron.
  • Used: $898,310 (Vlatko Cancar)

Detroit Pistons

Golden State Warriors

  • Available: $5,283,897
    • Note: The Warriors would have to shed salary to use the rest of their mid-level exception, since they’re up against a hard cap.
  • Used: $2,177,483 (Willie Cauley-Stein); $898,310 (Eric Paschall); $898,310 (Alen Smailagic)

Houston Rockets

Memphis Grizzlies

Miami Heat

  • Available: $8,359,690
    • Note: The Heat would have to shed salary to use the rest of their mid-level exception, since they’re up against a hard cap.
  • Used: $898,310 (KZ Okpala)

Minnesota Timberwolves

Oklahoma City Thunder

  • Available: $4,097,436 (taxpayer)
  • Used: $1,620,564 (Justin Patton)

Orlando Magic

Portland Trail Blazers

  • Available: $0 (taxpayer)
  • Used: $5,718,000 (Rodney Hood)

San Antonio Spurs

  • Available: $3,758,000
  • Used: $5,500,000 (Trey Lyles)

Toronto Raptors

Washington Wizards


Room Exception:

Atlanta Hawks

  • Available: $4,767,000
  • Used: $0

Boston Celtics

Brooklyn Nets

Chicago Bulls

Indiana Pacers

Los Angeles Clippers

Los Angeles Lakers

Milwaukee Bucks

New Orleans Pelicans

New York Knicks

Philadelphia 76ers

Phoenix Suns

Sacramento Kings

Utah Jazz

  • Available: $0
  • Used: $4,767,000 (Ed Davis)

Salary information from Basketball Insiders, Early Bird Rights, and ESPN was used in the creation of this post. Photos courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

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One thought on “How Teams Are Using 2019/20 Mid-Level Exceptions

  1. specialfriedrice

    Pat McCaw $4m…Hollis-Jefferson $2.5m…

    McCaw must have a really good agent…or the Raptors just splurged a lot of coin on a ‘lucky charm’…that has expired.

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