Results from the annual NBA General Manager Survey have come back, and one thing is abundantly clear: there are definitely at least 20 GMs who are, at best, hazy on the definition of the oft-used Mid-Level Exception.

“No, I know what it is, it’s about the salary cap and the… for mid-level eligible, um, for veterans within a proscribed 90-day period,” stammered Celtics GM Danny Ainge while clearly googling the phrase on his phone beneath his desk. “It’s complicated, I don’t really have time for this.”

Of the 30 general managers to fill out the survey, only RC Buford of the Spurs and Daryl Morey of the Rockets provided anything that resembled a coherent answer. We didn’t fact check their answers, but they were written with a certain degree of authority we found compelling.


Bulls executive Gar Forman, when asked to explain the MLE (Getty)

Bulls executive Gar Forman, when asked to explain the MLE (Getty)

“So you’ve got players like LeBron and Kevin Durant, they’re at the star level,” began Jeff Bower of the Detroit Pistons front office, looking toward his assistant for emotional support. “And then other players, like Kristaps Porzingis at the rookie level. And then everyone else, so I’m confident that the Mid-Level Exception would apply to them.”

Regardless, every single GM is offering to utilize the Mid-Level Exception in potential trades with one another, each politely refusing to press the other on its definition or applications.

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*Two of our writers hit a home run** once
**It was in a video game.