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. Report: Mavericks targeting Jermaine O’Neal to replace Brandan Wright

    Dec 19, 2014, 1:04 PM EST

    Golden State Warriors v Dallas Mavericks Getty Images

    Sending Wright to the Celtics leaves major hole at backup center

  2. Report: Mavericks “confident” they can re-sign Rajon Rondo

    Dec 19, 2014, 12:28 PM EST

    rondomavs

    Mark Cuban is too smart to pull the trigger on this kind of deal unless he has word he can keep his man.

  3. Report: Hornets pull Lance Stephenson off trade block

    Dec 19, 2014, 11:51 AM EST

    Charlotte Hornets v Miami Heat Getty Images

    Heat and Nets among teams that showed interest

  4. Mark Cuban finalized Rajon Rondo trade while on set for The Colbert Report finale

    Dec 19, 2014, 11:15 AM EST

    Mavericks owner, one of many celebrities singing off Stephen Colbert, had his priorities in line

  5. Carmelo Anthony turning down the Bulls was a blessing in disguise for Chicago

    Dec 19, 2014, 10:15 AM EST

    Carmelo Anthony Carmelo Anthony

    The Bulls are better off with their depth and flexibility.

  6. Draymond Green ruins Stephen Curry’s behind-the-back highlight (video)

    Dec 19, 2014, 9:08 AM EST

    Oklahoma City Thunder v Golden State Warriors Oklahoma City Thunder v Golden State Warriors

    Warriors forward blows dunk, does everything else right in win over Thunder

  7. Mike Malone “surprised” he was fired by Sacramento Kings

    Dec 19, 2014, 8:00 AM EST

    Los Angeles Clippers v Sacramento Kings Getty Images

    He will get another shot at being a head coach in the NBA. He deserves it.

  8. Dallas moves into title contender status with addition of Rajon Rondo

    Dec 19, 2014, 1:01 AM EST

    Rajon Rondo AP

    Rondo moves the Mavs into contender status in the West. Problem is that is a crowded field.

  9. Kevin Durant turns ankle, leaves game not to return; X-rays negative.

    Dec 19, 2014, 12:46 AM EST

    Oklahoma City Thunder v Golden State Warriors Getty Images

    The team officially described the sprain as “mild.”

  10. Phil Jackson takes to Twitter to defend Knicks trading Tyson Chandler to Mavericks

    Dec 18, 2014, 11:00 PM EST

    Phil Jackson, James Dolan, executive chairman of the Madison Square Garden Company AP

    Phil responds to an article ripping the Knicks for making the deal.

  11. Carmelo Anthony considering shutting down because of knee injury

    Dec 18, 2014, 7:35 PM EST

    Carmelo Anthony Carmelo Anthony

    Anthony has been advised that sitting out would be smart.

Featured video

Jabari Parker injury latest for disappointing rookie class
Top 10 NBA Player Searches
  1. D. Favors (7440)
  2. K. Martin (6997)
  3. D. Cousins (6800)
  4. A. Davis (6746)
  5. A. Bogut (6585)
  1. J. Noah (6481)
  2. T. Jones (6366)
  3. D. Lee (6181)
  4. C. Bosh (6109)
  5. T. Parker (5861)