clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Would the Thunder Use the Tax Payer Mid Level Exception to land another veteran?

New, comments

Even with a nearly full roster and the desire to re-sign Enes Kanter and Kyle Singler, the Thunder could add a quality player by using the Tax Payer Mid-Level Exception. Who would be the ideal candidate?

Rob Grabowski-USA TODAY Sports

With 13 players already under contract for next season, and an upcoming first round draft pick, the Thunder have very few options available to them to fill out their roster. Throw in the Josh Huestis situation, and it further complicates things. Presti has also expressed intent in bringing back both Enes Kanter and Kyle Singler. Do the math and you end up with 17 players competing for 15 roster spots.

In order to whittle the roster down to 15 players, this will undoubtedly be the last season several players find themselves in Thunder uniforms.

Even with this little roster flexibility the Thunder will have an intriguing option at their disposal should they choose to use it. This option is referred to as the "Tax Payer Mid-Level Exception." Teams who are over the luxury tax (and the Thunder will undoubtedly be in this position) can add an additional player to their roster using this exception. This player's first year salary cannot exceed $3.376 million per year. While the Thunder might not use this option, there are multiple players that would fit into this salary range.

Here is a look at several players that could fit into this situation and what they could bring to the Thunder next year.

1. Kyle Singler

Singler hits free agency on July 1. The Thunder could easily use this exception to re-sign Singler. I would think he would jump at the option to remain with the Thunder under the Tax Payer exception. The Thunder however would not have to go this route with Singler as they can just sign him out right. In other words, they could sign Singler and still get another player.

2. Gary Neal

Neal is a free agent who has bounced around the NBA. He is a career 38% 3 point shooter and could provide instant offense off the bench. Neal could easily carve out a niche for the Thunder and give them another sharpshooter on the wing.

3. Mike Dunleavy

The 34 year old will be a free agent this summer, He is coming off a season where he averaged 9.4 points and hit nearly 41% of his 3 point shots. Dunleavy doesn't do anything spectacularly but is a solid, gritty veteran. He made $3.32 million last season, which puts him right in line for the Tax Payer Exception. I am not sure however that Dunleavy would be willing to take a decreased role that would accompany him becoming a part of the Thunder.

4. Jared Dudley

Dudley has an early termination option for $4.25 million next season. The 29 year old is entering the point in his career where joining with the Thunder would place him in arguably the best position of his career to win a championship. Dudley is nearly a 40% 3 point shooter and would add another piece to space the floor. Dudley would have to take a pay cut for this to happen, but a NBA Championship could outweigh earning just under a million dollars less.

5. Paul Pierce

Paul Pierce has championship experience and is definitely a player that isn't afraid of taking a big shot. He has a $5.54 million player option for next season. He would have to opt out and then take a pay cut. For many players, this would be a deal breaker, but Pierce has made over $180 million in his NBA career. Taking just over a $2 million dollar pay cut for a chance at a championship could be enticing.


I am in favor of a change up at the end of the Thunder roster. While I am still solidly behind Jeremy Lamb being given another chance, I don't see much value in keeping Perry Jones or Steve Novak. I would much rather see a bench that featured one of these players. They have all proven to more than capable contributors throughout their careers.