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NBA Lockout Proposal From Owners Includes 'Mini' Mid-Level Exception

In Saturday's final NBA lockout proposal from owners, the league consented to allowing teams over the luxury tax threshold to use the mid-level exception. Only it's not the typical mid-level exception: it's a smaller version worth $2.5 million for a maximum of two years, usable only once every two years. So basically, it's an allowance for tax-paying teams to sign a $2.5-million player every two years.

The normal mid-level exception will be set at $5 million, with a three-year maximum length. In the last deal, it had risen to five years starting at $5.8 million. Players and owners have been fighting on whether to limit the types of transactions teams over the tax line can make. In previous collective bargaining agreements, tax teams could do anything a team over the salary cap could do.

David Stern has given players until Wednesday to accept the deal; if they do not do so, he has threatened to change the offer to a lower revenue split with what is effectively a hard salary cap.