The mid-level exception allows teams above the salary cap to operate as if they still had space to sign quality players (key word: "exception").
Thanks to the exception, each offseason, players with specific skill sets align themselves with organizations that could really use their help. Sometimes the acquisitions tilt entire championship runs, like the Miami Heat using their entire taxpayer mid-level exception to sign Ray Allen two summers ago.
Thanks to the mid-level exception, Miami was able to win a second championship. It's the contract good teams use to get better, and hitting on it can be extremely beneficial.
There are three different mid-level exceptions: the non-taxpayer (up to four years, starting at $5.3 million), the taxpayer (up to three years, starting at $3.2 million) and the room exception, for teams under the salary cap (up to two years, starting at $2.7 million).
Here are five players who should sign for the mid-level exception this summer, matched up with teams that need their help.
They're ranked on the likelihood these deals actually happen.