A trade exception allows an NBA team to take back a certain amount of salary without sending back any in return. In the Mavericks’ case, the exception was worth $10,865,952 and would’ve permitted the team to acquire a player earning nearly $11MM without using any outgoing contracts.
However, trade exceptions can only be used for one year after they’re created. This one actually expired after about 11 months, since its expiry date was adjusted to account for a 2021 NBA offseason that ran about a month late due to COVID-19’s impact on the league’s calendar. Dallas only had the ability to use its trade exception through June 27.
Most trade exceptions expire without being used, but teams can sometimes find a way to utilize at least a portion of the bigger ones. The Mavs were known to be exploring options, but it appears they couldn’t find a deal that they liked.
Dallas already projects to be a taxpaying club and is hoping to re-sign Jalen Brunson this summer, which would push team salary way beyond the luxury tax line. As such, it makes sense that the team would be wary of taking on even more salary if there were any concerns about the fit or trade cost.
Our full list of outstanding trade exceptions can be found right here.
The Celtics ($17.1MM), Nets ($11.3MM), Pacers ($10.5MM), Jazz ($9.8MM), Clippers ($9.7MM), and Nuggets ($8.2MM) are among the teams with the biggest exceptions available. The Trail Blazers’ $20.9MM is currently the largest in the NBA, but it will be used to accommodate their impending acquisition of Jerami Grant.