Most fans know the Detroit Pistons have more salary cap space then most NBA teams. They also have another little trick they can use to sign a pretty good player: ‘The Room Exception.’
While the Pistons have some decent salary cap space for the first time in a while, there is also a little cap trick they get to use due to being blow the cap. It is called the Mid-Level Exception for teams under the salary cap, commonly known as the ‘Room’ Exception.
Avoiding the legal jargon, Hoops Rumors does a good job explaining it:
If a club goes under the cap, it loses its full mid-level exception, but gets this smaller room exception, which allows the team to go over the cap to sign a player once the team has used up all its cap space. It can be used to sign players for up to two years, with a 5% raise for the second season
Until the NBA releases its official salary cap number for the 2022-23 season, no figure is definite, but Hoops Rumors estimates the Pistons will have $5,329,000 to spend on its Room exception.
This gives Detroit general manager Troy Weaver another quiver in his bow, to target a player with.
Depending on various factors: how many options do the Pistons pick up on its current players, does Cory Joseph pick up his player option, how much will Marvin Bagley III cost to retain and, the big question, will Jerami Grant return, Detroit could have between $20-40 million in cap space to play with this summer.
The exception can be used on multiple players, but it can not be added to another transaction, like a trade or extension.
Where the Room Exception would mainly come in to play is if Detroit signs an expensive free agent (Jalen Brunson?, Miles Bridges?, Deandre Ayton?), or swing a trade where they take on a big salary, that sucks up all their available salary cap space.
Weaver has 15 NBA roster spots and two-player contracts to fill, and he has always said he wants some veterans on the team. If a major move takes away the cap space to use, the Pistons can turn to the Room Exception to still sign players.
Now, $5.3 million will not get you James Harden or Zack Levine, but, with Many NBA teams having cap problems This season, a pretty good player could fall into Detroit’s lap.
Remember how many people thought Hamidou Diallo would get $12-13 million a year last off-season, when he was a restricted free agent. He ended up signing back with Detroit for about what is this year’s room exception ($5.1 million).
As an example of the type of players who made in the $5-6 million this past season (not counting those on rookie deals) include:
- Pat Connaughton
- Rudy Gay
- Kris Dunn
- Kevon Looney
- Justin Holiday
- JaVale McGee
We are not saying these particular players Detroit should look at, merely that this is the level of player possible with the Room Exception.
Or maybe there is someone interesting who would get a raise due to the exception. Bryn Forbes is an ace three-point shooter, a skill in short supply with the Pistons.
The Lansing native only made $4.5 million with the Nuggets this season. He is certainly someone who might be lured with room exception level money.
Because Bagley’s cap hold is a massive $28 million, his situation is probably first on Weaver’s agenda to be resolved. After that, the Pistons should be well under the cap and eligible for the Room Exception.
The NBA Draft and the usual free agency frenzy will take up most of the headlines in the near future. But once the dust settles, Detroit’s Room Exception will be put into play for the last, good, chance to upgrade the roster.