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NBA Draft 2023: Now that the draft is over, what exceptions can the Dallas Mavericks use?

What salary exceptions are available for the Dallas Mavericks?

2023 NBA Draft Lottery Photo by Kamil Krzaczynski/NBAE via Getty Images

The Dallas Mavericks wheeled-and-dealed last night by adding Richaun Holmes, Dereck Lively, and Olivier-Maxence Prosper. And of course, the Mavericks are hoping to re-sign Kyrie Irving in July. If they do, what exceptions will the Mavericks have at their disposal?

After the draft ended last night, this was the question I received the most. When the Mavericks traded the 10th pick and Davis Bertans to the Oklahoma City Thunder for the 12th pick, I tweeted that the Mavericks had cleared enough salary to use the full mid-level exception.

But then they used the Traded Player Exception (wow, they actually used a big TPE!) to absorb Holmes and nab the 24th pick from the Sacramento Kings. This was a good move, but it did add salary back on the Mavericks cap sheet.

Mavericks 2023-24 Cap Sheet

We know that, as I predicted, the salary cap is actually going to be $136 Million. I still am hopeful that it will land at exactly the $136,021,000 amount I wrote about back in April. Here’s Hoophype’s salary cap guy tweeting that exact number.

The difference in which exception the Mavericks will be able to use will depend on other trades they might make, but the other big domino is what number Irving ends up re-signing for with Dallas. I’ve seen many people suggest on Twitter that Irving do the Mavericks a solid and sign for less. Let’s look at the differences in him signing for his max 2023-24 salary of $47,607,350 or $40,000,000.

Kyrie at the Max Cap Sheet

Kyrie’s 4-year max looks like this with the $136,021,000 salary cap:

This is what the salary cap sheet will look like if Irving re-signs for the most possible:

Here is what it looks like if Irving signs for four years starting at $40,000,000 with 8% raises:

And this is what the resulting cap sheet looks like:

What even are the potential exceptions the Mavericks can use?

The non-taxpayer MLE is the big one. It hard caps you at the 1st Tax Apron ($172,294,000). That’s the entire reason you are even reading this article.

The bi-annual exception is the other exception the Mavericks are potentially trying to use. It also hard caps you at the first tax apron ($172,294,000).

Most important number

In each cap sheet, I bolded the “room till first tax apron”. This shows you how much exactly the Mavericks would have to fill out their roster. It’s simply the $172,294,000 tax apron amount minus the salaries of all players.

A couple of pieces of information are important:

  • Anyone the Mavericks sign will count a MINIMUM of a two-year experience player’s minimum towards the apron amount. That means, even signing an undrafted rookie at the rookie minimum ($1,119,555) would count toward the apron as a two-year experience minimum ($2,019,692).
  • The good news is that players with over two years of experience only count the same two-year experience amount. So Dwight Powell on a 1-year minimum deal would only count $2,019,692 instead of the $2,905,840 he’d actually get paid. That’s because the league office actually pays that difference for vets on one-year deals so they aren’t avoided by teams looking to get under the cap or an apron.
  • Dallas has to sign at least 13 players and would likely need 14 at some point. 15 might be needed as well. It’s best not to completely constrain yourself. I’ll calculate if they sign 14 or 15 players. Having only 13 all year seems unreasonable. You can use two-way players but they can’t play in the playoffs and in the new CBA (#newcba) there are limits to how much they can play when you have less than 15 rostered players.
  • I’m going to try and maximize use of the non-tax MLE and the BAE in this graphic. I’ll count the minimum apron charges as filler and then show how much of the non-tax MLE and the BAE they could theoretically use.


  • From the current make-up of the roster, Irving taking a discount to $40,000,000 would be enough for the NT-MLE and a full 15-man roster. That could use only a little of the BAE.
  • Irving taking a discount to $40,000,000 with only a 14-man roster would be enough to use the entire NT-MLE and the entire BAE.
  • Irving on a max (barring trades of waving and stretching players of course) wouldn't be enough to open the entire NT-MLE. Even if you rostered only 14 players, you’d only have use of $7,615,032 of the NT-MLE.

This could all be irrelevant in 24 hours with another trade. I hope this helps answer the most common question I have been getting since the drafted ended.