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. Adam Silver meets with community leaders in Milwaukee trying to pave way for new arena

    Nov 26, 2014, 8:30 AM EST

    Adam Silver Adam Silver

    Silver has said he wants the Bucks to stay in Milwaukee, but if a new arena isn’t built it’s going to get interesting.

  2. Anthony Davis and DeMarcus Cousins trade baseline dunks (VIDEO)

    Nov 26, 2014, 1:15 AM EST

    Anthony Davis Anthony Davis

    This rivalry is the best thing about the NBA this season.

  3. Kobe Bryant: “We’re not a 3-11 team. We’re not.”

    Nov 25, 2014, 9:30 PM EST

    Los Angeles Lakers v Houston Rockets Getty Images

    They are that bad because of their defense.

  4. Some Sixers season ticket holders are understandably ticked off

    Nov 25, 2014, 7:50 PM EST

    Understanding what the team is doing and paying good money for tickets are different things.

  5. Rumor: Rockets may bring in Al Harrington to bolster front court depth

    Nov 25, 2014, 6:15 PM EST

    Indiana Pacers v Washington Wizards: Game Four Indiana Pacers v Washington Wizards: Game Four

    This is a sign of how thin the front line pickings are for teams wanting depth.

  6. Timberwolves’ Kevin Martin out 6-8 weeks following surgery on fractured wrist

    Nov 25, 2014, 3:20 PM EST

    Chicago Bulls v Minnesota Timberwolves Chicago Bulls v Minnesota Timberwolves

    He will be back before the trade deadline, not that he’s that easy to move.

  7. Carmelo Anthony listed as doubtful for Wednesday’s game at Dallas

    Nov 25, 2014, 2:45 PM EST

    Carmelo Anthony Carmelo Anthony

    Anthony was forced out of Monday’s game against the Rockets with back spasms.

Featured video

Could Sixers be worst team in NBA history?
Top 10 NBA Player Searches
  1. D. Rose (9209)
  2. D. Wade (7777)
  3. P. Gasol (6959)
  4. K. Durant (6237)
  5. D. Howard (6083)
  1. K. Martin (5574)
  2. T. Jones (5110)
  3. R. Westbrook (5051)
  4. O. Asik (4976)
  5. D. Lee (4654)