The “Larry Bird Rule” was named as such because the Boston Celtics spent wildly (at the time) in the 1983 offseason, the year before the first NBA salary cap in the 1983-1984 season. Though the principle of the “Bird Rights” came from the fact that the Celtics exceeded what would be the salary cap to sign him, Larry Bird was not actually signed with the “Bird Rights” exception.
“Bird Rights” were enacted to allow teams to keep their players around and not lose them to other teams in free agency. The argument for the rule is that other teams who were below salary cap could outbid teams like the Celtics for Larry Bird and the Celtics could simply not compete in offering money. Furthermore, the NBA drew up the Bird Exception in hopes that good players would stay around their teams to promote a more competitive league.
The Larry Bird exception allows free agents who qualify, known as Qualifying Veteran Free Agents or Bird Free Agents, to resign with their previous team for a contract up to max salary. In order to quality, the player must have played for the team for the three prior consecutive seasons without movement. In addition, the player claimed after being amnestied has his Bird rights transferred to the new team. A player can maintain Bird Rights with three, one-year contracts, or one three-year contract or any combination thereof. A player is traded with his Bird Rights.
The Early Bird Exception allows a team to resign a player for up to 175% of the salary of the previous season or the NBA’s average salary, whichever is higher. Early Bird contracts are two to four seasons in length. If a team agrees to trade a player using the Early Bird exception, the Early Bird rights are dissipated.
The Non-Bird Exception, also the Non-Qualifying Free Agents, can resign with a team for 120% of the salary of the previous season or the league’s minimum salary, whichever is higher (up to 4 years).
I'm Jake, a recent graduate of Duke University pursuing a career in collegiate or professional basketball operations.
Cap #s 2018 - 2019
Salary Cap: $101.869M
Lux. Tax: $123.733M
Tax Apron: $129.827M
Tax Floor: $91.682M
Room MLE: $4.45M