Skip to content

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

Jun 9, 2014, 7:30 PM EDT

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. D’Angelo Russell says Kobe Bryant is “mentally on another level”

    Sep 5, 2015, 9:30 AM EDT

    2015 NBA Rookie Photo Shoot Getty Images

    “I always preach, I didn’t get here from being the most athletic guy, the fastest guy, the tallest guy, or the strongest, I got here from my mind.” —D’Angelo Russell

  2. Tony Parker talks about playing for legacy with Spurs, France

    Sep 5, 2015, 8:00 AM EDT

    cd0ymzcznguwzdbhnduynddiytjhm2yyzthlmtjjotqwyyznpwq2ztywmty4njnjy2y5nzvkzda1ytkzngqyowe3mzzj AP

    Is he the best European ever in the NBA?

  3. Report: Kendall Marshall near deal with Sixers

    Sep 4, 2015, 7:30 PM EDT

    Milwaukee Bucks v Cleveland Cavaliers Getty Images

    He’s coming off an ACL surgery and misses the start of the season.

  4. Eric Bledsoe: Suns not content just sneaking into the playoffs

    Sep 4, 2015, 2:24 PM EDT

    Phoenix Suns v San Antonio Spurs Getty Images

    Given the strength of the Western Conference, they should be

  5. Report: NBA would continue to receive national TV money during work stoppage

    Sep 4, 2015, 1:25 PM EDT

    John Skipper, David Levy, Ted Leonsis, Adam Silver AP

    That’ll make owners more prone to locking out players

  6. Report: Rockets signing four free agents, including Chris Walker

    Sep 4, 2015, 12:23 PM EDT

    SEC Basketball Tournament - Second Round - Florida vs Alabama Getty Images

    Houston also reportedly adding Denzel Livingston, Remi Yusuf, Will Cummings

  7. JaVale McGee says he’s close to healthy, will be ready for season

    Sep 4, 2015, 8:00 AM EDT

    JaVale McGee AP

    If he’s healthy and the vintage, athletic McGee Dallas could use him.

  8. John Wall got a $20,000 portrait of himself for his birthday (PHOTO)

    Sep 3, 2015, 11:15 PM EDT

    John Wall John Wall

    The street artist Madsteez painted the commissioned piece.

Top 10 NBA Player Searches
  1. D. Rose (2091)
  2. K. Irving (1695)
  3. A. Davis (1590)
  4. R. Rubio (1516)
  5. L. James (1489)
  1. K. Durant (1485)
  2. K. Bryant (1438)
  3. T. Thompson (1261)
  4. J. Clarkson (1202)
  5. A. Aminu (1160)