Skip to content

Phil Jackson and the Knicks are changing the coaching-salary game

Jun 9, 2014, 7:30 PM EST

Jackson and Fisher celebrate Getty Images

Want to become a highly paid coach? There are two routes.

1. Coach very effectively, win a championship and get rewarded for your success.

2. Convince Phil Jackson to like you.

The Knicks drove up the price for Steve Kerr, who, depending on the source, signed a five-year contract worth $21.25 million-$25 million with the Warriors. Spurned, New York just hired Derek Fisher for five years, $25 million.

Gregg Popovich (Spurs), Doc Rivers (Clippers) and Stan Van Gundy (Pistons) are the only known higher-paid coaches, though Rick Carlisle (Mavericks) and Tom Thibodeau (Bulls) might be ahead of Kerr. Popovich, Rivers and Van Gundy serve dual roles as president/coaches, and Popovich, Rivers and Carlisle have won championships.

Kerr and Fisher have championships, playoff wins, regular-season wins, a single game coached… Jackson’s seal of approval.

Apparently, that’s enough.

image

A few notes on the listed salaries: Coaching salaries are sometimes not publicly available. Exact terms, including levels of guarantees and incentives, are rarely available. Most of the above data comes via Other League.

The two teams without head coaches, the Lakers and Cavaliers, have their previous head coaches – Mike D’Antoni and Mike Brown – listed.

I couldn’t find data for Mike Budenholzer (Hawks), Kevin McHale (Rockets), Monty Williams (Pelicans), Jacque Vaughn (Magic), Brett Brown (76ers), Terry Stotts (Trail Blazers), Quin Snyder (Jazz). Based on their perceived value when hired, it’s unlikely any of those eight is making $5 million per year.

I also couldn’t find Flip Saunders’ salary, but it’s possible  but the Timberwolves’ new coach will be paid at least $5 million per year. Saunders – like Popovich, Rivers and Van Gundy – is also the team’s president.

One more reminder: Not only are Kerr and Fisher just coaches, they’ve coached a combined zero games as a head coach or assistant.

Some more-established coaches must see this and expect raises. Jackson and the Knicks won’t have to pay those bills themselves, but they’re changing the market.

Dan Patrick Show: Kenny Smith endorses going straight from playing to coaching

Latest Posts
  1. Five Things We Learned in NBA Thursday: The Cavaliers we expected have arrived

    Feb 27, 2015, 2:55 AM EST

    LeBron James AP

    If you had any doubts about the Cavs, they answered them.

  2. LeBron drops season-high 42 as Cavaliers comfortably handle Warriors (VIDEO)

    Feb 27, 2015, 12:55 AM EST

    LeBron James AP

    LeBron looked at Stephen Curry across the way and decided to make his own MVP statement.

  3. Rip Hamilton finally, formally announced retirement

    Feb 26, 2015, 8:15 PM EST

    Rip Hamilton

    Yes it’s a little late in coming, but it’s worth remembering what a quality player he was.

  4. Derrick Rose scheduled for surgery Friday, will have all or part of meniscus removed

    Feb 26, 2015, 5:45 PM EST

    Derrick Rose Derrick Rose

    He is having all or part of the meniscus removed, which makes for a faster recovery.

  5. Reports: Kings’ Darren Collison to have surgery, likely done for season

    Feb 26, 2015, 5:00 PM EST

    Golden State Warriors v Sacramento Kings Getty Images

    While in theory he could return for a few games, in practice that’s not going to happen.

  6. Heat sign Michael Beasley to 10-day contract

    Feb 26, 2015, 1:11 PM EST

    San Antonio Spurs v Miami Heat - 2014 NBA Finals Game Three Getty Images

    This will be Beasley’s third stint with Miami

  7. Would Rajon Rondo leave the Mavericks for the Lakers?

    Feb 26, 2015, 12:29 PM EST

    Los Angeles Lakers v Dallas Mavericks Getty Images

    Reports emerging Rondo ‘unlikely’ to re-sign with Dallas

  8. This is the fear: Is Derrick Rose on his way to the Penny Hardaway, Bill Walton club?

    Feb 26, 2015, 11:12 AM EST

    Chicago Bulls' Derrick Rose waits for the start of a media interview at the start of the team's training camp at the Berto Arena in Chicago, Illinois Reuters

    It’s too early to say with Rose what hs legacy will be.

Featured video

Is Derrick Rose the next Penny Hardaway?
Top 10 NBA Player Searches
  1. K. Durant (7850)
  2. S. Curry (7085)
  3. D. Rose (6889)
  4. M. Carter-Williams (6887)
  5. D. Howard (6792)
  1. P. George (6395)
  2. C. Bosh (6190)
  3. A. Davis (5743)
  4. B. Beal (5606)
  5. K. Olynyk (5279)