Increase to Full Mid-Level Exception
Shams Charania of The Athletic reported a 7.5% increase in the full mid-level exception starting next season.
There are two types of mid-level exceptions:
- The full, $12.2 million mid-level is available to teams that remain under the tax apron. As things stand, the Heat will not be eligible to take advantage of this strengthened tool.
- Teams that are already pushed beyond the tax apron (or would be if they used the full mid-level) only have the taxpayer mid-level available to spend. It is worth much less money, only holding an estimated value of $7 million.
Spotrac’s Miami Heat cap sheet has their total team salary at $173 million, well above the $162 million apron for next season. Unlocking access to the full MLE would mean clearing more than $20 million in space, which seems unlikely even if Oladipo declines his $9.5 million player option.
Being a team operating over the tax and with glaring holes on the roster, the Heat need to unlock access to at least the taxpayer mid-level exception. Otherwise, they will be limited to re-signing their own players and signing outside help to minimum contracts. None of those things will move the needle enough.
The MLE is an extremely valuable resource for most teams, especially those who spend as much as the Heat do and are hoping to contend.
The PJ Tucker signing of 2021 is a prime example of the caliber of player this exception can net when used correctly. Obviously, the exception was worth less back then, but for a year it brought in a full-time starter who helped to carry Miami to a No. 1 seed and the doorstep of a second Finals appearance in three seasons.
We’ve seen firsthand how the loss of Tucker impacted this season. This upcoming summer, the Heat would be wise to get access to a midlevel exception, even the smaller one of the two. Keep an eye on whether or not the team makes move to unlock this option.
Stay tuned for part two, coming soon!