How Teams Are Using 2021/22 Mid-Level Exceptions

In addition to receiving approximately $112.4MM 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 apron, 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 $4,910,000.
  • Taxpayer mid-level exception: Can be used for contracts up to three years, with a starting salary worth up to $5,890,000.
  • Full/non-taxpayer mid-level exception: Can be used for contracts up to four years, with a starting salary worth up to $9,536,000.
    • Note: Though its name suggests otherwise, using the non-taxpayer mid-level exception doesn’t mean a team can’t or won’t be above the tax line ($136,606,000) at season’s end; it simply means the team’s total salary can’t surpass the tax “apron” ($143,002,000).

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 2021/22 league year.

Note: As of January 10, the value of the exceptions below began to prorate downward by 1/174th per day.

Here’s where things currently stand:


Mid-Level Exception:

Non-taxpayer: $9,536,000
Taxpayer:
$5,890,000

Atlanta Hawks

Boston Celtics

  • Used: $5,890,000 (Dennis Schröder)
  • Note: The Celtics could technically use more than taxpayer portion of mid-level exception, but are in the tax and likely won’t.

Brooklyn Nets

  • Used: $5,890,000 (Patty Mills)
  • Note: Limited to taxpayer mid-level exception.

Chicago Bulls

Cleveland Cavaliers

Dallas Mavericks

Denver Nuggets

Golden State Warriors

  • Used: $0
  • Note: Limited to taxpayer mid-level exception.

Houston Rockets

Indiana Pacers

Los Angeles Clippers

Los Angeles Lakers

  • Used: $5,000,000 (Kendrick Nunn)
  • Note: Limited to taxpayer mid-level exception.

Miami Heat

Milwaukee Bucks

Minnesota Timberwolves

  • Used: $0

New Orleans Pelicans

Oklahoma City Thunder

Orlando Magic

Philadelphia 76ers

  • Used: $3,300,000 (Georges Niang); $925,258 (Charles Bassey)
  • Note: The Sixers could technically use more than taxpayer portion of mid-level exception, but are in the tax and likely won’t.

Phoenix Suns

Portland Trail Blazers

Sacramento Kings

Toronto Raptors

Utah Jazz

  • Used: $5,890,000 (Rudy Gay)
  • Note: Limited to taxpayer mid-level exception.

Washington Wizards


Room Exception:

Available: $4,910,000

Charlotte Hornets

Detroit Pistons

Memphis Grizzlies

  • Used: $0

New York Knicks

San Antonio Spurs


Salary information from Basketball Insiders and Spotrac was used in the creation of this post. Photos courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

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