Although fans focus their attention on the players, NBA head coaches have become celebrities in their own right. As the league has gained popularity, players and coaches have both seen salaries rise dramatically. Most NBA head coaches earn multimillion-dollar salaries every year, and some even top eight figures per year. Not all NBA coaches are so well-compensated, however.
Average Head Coach Salaries
According to CBS Sports, the average salary of an NBA head coach for the 2014-2015 season was somewhere around $3 million dollars. The exact number is hard to calculate because some teams don't release salary data for their coaching staffs. However, SB Nation concurred in 2013 that most NBA head coaches earned between $2 and $5 million per year.
A small handful of elite coaches earn much more than the average. For example, the Clippers' coach, Doc Rivers, earns approximately $10 million per year on a deal stretching through the 2018-2019 season. Before joining the Clippers, he collected $7 million per year as the head coach of the Boston Celtics. Phil Jackson, the championship-winning coach of Michael Jordan's Bulls and later Kobe Bryant's Lakers, earned $11 million in his final season with the Los Angeles franchise. According to ESPN, Jackson was also reportedly eligible to receive an extra $2 million if the Lakers won the 2010 NBA title.
NBA head coaches don't enjoy a great deal of job security, but they do often have a financial safety net. The average tenure of an NBA head coach is only 2.4 years, and that figure drops to 1.9 years if longstanding Spurs coach Greg Popovic is excluded. Despite frequent firings, however, many coaches' contracts ensure them a salary even after they are dismissed. Mike Brown, former coach of the Lakers and Cavaliers, for example, will earn more than $15 million from his former employers even though he didn't even have an NBA job during the 2014-2015 season.
Assistant Coach Salaries
Teams rarely publicize the salaries of assistant coaches in the NBA, but it's safe to say that their salaries fall in a much wider range -- and are much smaller -- than NBA head coaches. For example, NBC Sports notes that former Kings assistant coach Bryan Gates earned around $50,000 per year for his efforts, while Tyronne Lue, an assistant coach with the Cleveland Cavaliers and reportedly the highest-paid assistant in NBA history, brought home $1.375 million during the 2013-2014 season.
- Business Insider: Ex-NBA Head Coach Mike Brown Is Making a Ton of Money
- SB Nation: There Is No Safe Job for an NBA Head Coach
- SB Nation: The Argument for Paying Your General Manager a Lot of Money
- CBS Sports: For Many NBA Assistants, the Road to Glory Is Well-Travelled
- NBC Sports: Tyronne Lue Now Highest-Paid NBA Assistant of All Time
- ESPN: Doc Rivers' New Deal Through 2018-19
- ESPN: Jackson in Line for Bonus if Lakers Win
- Photo Credit Comstock/Stockbyte/Getty Images
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