In an odd turn of events, the Brooklyn Nets have worked out an arrangement to pay free-agent signee Mirza Teletovic a smaller salary in order to preserve their chance to trade for Dwight Howard, or at least pay free agents Brook Lopez and Kris Humphries more money. The Nets had originally signed Teletovic to a deal for the full mid-level exception (three years, $16 million), but are working to rearrange his deal so he only gets the mini-mid-level exception for three years starting at $3 million, according to ESPN's John Hollinger.
Using the full mid-level exception would have essentially capped the Nets' payroll at $74.3 million, because such an exception is only available to teams that are not paying the luxury tax. The Nets would therefore be restricted to the "apron" payroll, which is $4 million about the tax. By switching to the taxpayer mini-mid level exception, however, the Nets can now exceed that $74.3 million number.
Exceeding the $74.3 million number opens up a lot of flexibility for Brooklyn. Now, they can offer a trade package for Howard and not be restricted by any sign-and-trade scenarios they will need to match salary in a deal with the Magic. If that fails, they can at least now offer Lopez and Humphries more money if needed to convince them to stay with the club.