How Teams Are Using 2022/23 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 2022/23, the bi-annual exception is worth $4,105,000, and can be used to offer a deal worth up to $8,415,250 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 of $156,983,000 (the tax apron) on a team. So if a club has surpassed the tax apron – or wants to retain the flexibility to do so – it can’t 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 2021/22, two teams used the BAE — the Mavericks (Sterling Brown) and Bulls (Tristan Thompson). As such, the exception isn’t available to those clubs during the 2022/23 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 2022/23:


Available Bi-Annual Exceptions:

Unused:

  • Atlanta Hawks
  • Charlotte Hornets
  • Cleveland Cavaliers
  • Houston Rockets
  • Memphis Grizzlies
  • Miami Heat
  • Minnesota Timberwolves
  • New Orleans Pelicans
  • Oklahoma City Thunder
  • Orlando Magic
  • Portland Trail Blazers
  • Sacramento Kings
  • Toronto Raptors
  • Utah Jazz
  • Washington Wizards

Although all of these teams technically have the ability to use their bi-annual exceptions at some point in 2022/23, it’s more realistic for some than others. For instance, the Hawks still have their full mid-level exception available and are already right around the luxury tax line, so there’s virtually no chance they’ll end up using the BAE this season.

Used:

  • Philadelphia 76ers

Typically, about three or four teams in a given league year use the bi-annual exception, but so far this season, Philadelphia is the only team that has done so. The Sixers took advantage of the ability to use their BAE after James Harden agreed to take a pay cut that will allow the team to stay under the hard cap.


Unavailable Bi-Annual Exceptions:

Went under cap:

  • Detroit Pistons
  • Indiana Pacers
  • New York Knicks
  • San Antonio Spurs

These four teams forfeited their right to the bi-annual exception when they went under the cap and used space this offseason.

Over (or near) tax apron:

  • Boston Celtics
  • Brooklyn Nets
  • Denver Nuggets
  • Golden State Warriors
  • Los Angeles Clippers
  • Los Angeles Lakers
  • Milwaukee Bucks
  • Phoenix Suns

In theory, cost-cutting moves by these teams could put them in position to use their bi-annual exceptions. In actuality though, that possibility is remote, especially for teams like the Clippers, Warriors, and Nets, who are far over the tax apron.

Used last year:

  • Chicago Bulls
  • Dallas Mavericks

As noted in the intro, these are the two teams that used their bi-annual exceptions in 2021/22 and, as a result, won’t have them again until 2023/24.

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