Analysis of Danny Green, Brandan Wright Free Agent Deals


Two former Tar Heels, Danny Green and Brandan Wright, signed free agency deals on Wednesday, a day that has been best summed up by Zach Lowe of Grantland with the first two sentences of his excellent piece on free agency: “Well, holy freaking crap. The NBA has never, ever seen a day like July 1, 2015.”

It wasn’t just a crazy day for NBA players but also a happy one — many players got paid big time yesterday, from Kevin Love to Kawhi Leonard to Jimmy Butler to Draymond Green. But the best part of the day might have been that everyone got paid, not just the stars. Kyle Singler, (yes, that Kyle Singler,) got paid 25 million dollars over five years. That is a ton of money!

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That was the story across the board, and two former Tar Heels, Green and Wright, didn’t miss the boat. Green got a four-year, 45 million dollar deal with San Antonio, a deal which is actually well below market value. Wright also got a three-year, 18 million dollar deal from Memphis to backup Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph.

Let’s dive deeper into each of the deals, starting first with Danny Green.

Danny Green: 4 years, 45 million dollars

Above is a chart detailing Danny Green’s yearly salaries in each year that he has played in the NBA. As you can see, the approximately 11 million dollars a season that Green will be making next year is a step up from his first salary of 457,000 dollars and even from last year’s salary of 3.7 million.

Green’s salary and his overall contract are the same as the contract extension given to Steph Curry. Both players will make around 11 million dollars next season. You might be wondering… how is this possible? Why are all these players getting so much money this free agency? It all has to deal with the rising NBA salary cap due to higher T.V. revenues. Teams have more to spend, and they want to spend it now before the big cap jump next summer and before more teams can join the spending party.

North Carolina Tar Heels
North Carolina Tar Heels /

North Carolina Tar Heels

Green’s contract is great for him, but believe it or not, it is still less than he was making on the open market. Khris Middleton, a player similar to Green, received a five-year, 70 million dollar deal with the Milwaukee Bucks. Middleton averaged 13.4 points and 4.4 rebounds last season, but teams aren’t paying for counting stats anymore. At the risk of dumbing it down too much, teams are just looking for good basketball players who can do a lot of things well and who can play in the modern NBA. These include three and D wing players, who can shoot three pointers, defender multiple positions and keep the ball moving on offense, via pass, screen or cut.

Green, Middleton, and DeMarre Carroll represent a new class of three and D players who are getting paid for their skills. Carroll earned a four-year, 60 million dollar deal, despite being a few years older than both the other two guys. Now you see how Green could have earned a lot more, because the going rate for good three and D guys was higher than 11 million a season.

However, Green shouldn’t be unhappy. 45 million is still a ton of money, and he is staying in San Antonio and in a system which will continue to maximize his talents. Green and his above average three-point shooting and defense will continue to thrive in San Antonio, and he will be a part of some really good basketball teams in the Western Conference over the course of his new, huge, contract.

Brandan Wright: 3 years, 18 million dollars

Brandan Wright also got a nice raise yesterday compared to his previous salaries. His new 6 million dollar a year salary isn’t the explosion of cash that Green received, however, it is still impressive that Wright was able to grab a lucrative three-year deal as a 27-year-old approaching his 8th NBA season.

Tar Heel fans probably remember the name Brandan Wright but don’t remember the player. Wright was only in Chapel Hill for one season but has carved out a nice place in the league for himself. His career started off slowly, as he started just six games his rookie season and lost the entire 09-10 season to a shoulder injury. When he went to Dallas in the 2011-12 season is when he started to take off as a player. Under the guidance of Rick Carlislie, Wright developed into a dangerous pick and roll finisher and a great rim protector.

Wright will never be a Finals hero, like Green was, but his skills are very valuable in the NBA today.

Teams need athletes who can do that and defend the rim (Wright had 94 blocks last season, per

The value of a pick and roll finisher/rim protector isn’t as high as a three and D wing, and the nickname isn’t as catchy, but both kinds of players are having a good week. These two types of players are becoming more valuable in the modern NBA and are getting paid as the salary cap jumps and all players entering free agency feel the impact.

San Antonio and Memphis will each be pleased with their new players, and Tar Heel fans should be happy that these guys got paid. Big time.