Skip to content

NBA Coach Salary: How much do coaches get paid?

In today’s post, I take a detailed look at NBA coach salaries.

There are only 30 head coaches in the NBA. So, technically, coaching is an even more elite position than an NBA player (450+ players).

That’s why top coaches like Gregg Poppovich, Monty Williams, and Erik Spoelstra actually get paid more than the average player!

Currently, NBA head coach salaries range from around $2 million to over $15 million per year.

Read on to learn more detailed facts, like:

Let’s get started:

💰 Update Jan 30, 2023: Doc Rivers is back with a 4-year, $40 million contract
—-
💰💰 Update Jan 10, 2023: Erik Spoelstra signed an 8-year, $120+ million contract extension with the Miami Heat. This is the largest overall coaching contact in NBA history! Congrats!

Average NBA coach salary (2023-2024)

Billy Donavan, coach of the Chicago Bulls, singing his way to the bank.

The average NBA coach salary for the 2023-2024 season is approximately $6,000,000.

This number was calculated from various sources online. Most NBA teams do not officially release coaches salaries or contract info, so some sources may be more reliable than others.

Here is the full list of salary data:

Full NBA Coach Salary List (2023-2024)

TeamCoachSalary 2023-2024Source
Atlanta HawksQuin Snyder$8,000,000RealGM
Boston CelticsJoe Mazzulla$2,500,000En.as
Brooklyn NetsJacque Vaughnundisclosed
Charlotte HornetsSteve Clifford$4,000,000Charlotte Observer
Chicago BullsBilly Donavan$6,000,000NBC
Cleveland CavaliersJ.B. Bickerstaffundisclosed
Dallas MavericksJason Kidd$8,500,000The Richest
Denver NuggetsMichael Malone$2,000,000(unreliable) En.As (new deal around $10million+ will not start until 2025)
Detroit PistonsMonty Williams$13,083,333SB Nation
Golden State WarriorsSteve Kerr$9,500,000SB Nation
Houston RocketsIme Udoka$6,750,000Chron
Indiana PacersRick Carlisle$7,250,000Yahoo
Los Angeles ClippersTyronn Lue$7,000,000Yard Barker
Los Angeles LakersDarvin Hamundisclosed
Memphis GrizzliesTaylor Jenkins$2,500,000(unreliable) ABTC
Miami HeatErik Spoelstra$8,500,000Yahoo
Milwaukee BucksAdrian Griffin$4,000,000The Athletic
Minnesota TimberwolvesChris Finchundisclosed
New Orleans PelicansWillie Green$3,000,000Forbes
New York KnicksTom Thibodeau$8,000,000(unreliable) based on previous T-Wolves contract
Oklahoma City ThunderMark Daigneaultundisclosed
Orlando MagicJamahl Mosleyundisclosed
Philadelphia 76ersNick Nurse$8,000,000(based on previous Raptors contract)
Phoenix SunsFrank Vogel$6,200,000Bleacher Report
Portland Trail BlazersChauncey Billups$2,000,000(unreliable) Blazers Edge
Sacramento KingsMike Brown$5,000,000Sports Brief
San Antonio SpursGregg Popovich$16,000,000Yahoo
Toronto RaptorsDarko Rajakovicundisclosed
Utah JazzWill Hardyundisclosed
Washington WizardsBrian Keefe undisclosed

I was only actually able to find salary data on 22 of the 30 coaches. Some of the sources are also not super reliable, so these numbers with a grain of salt.

The unknowns include some of the younger, less experienced coaches like Mark Daigneault, Will Hardy, and Darko Rajakovic.

It is probably safe to assume that these young coaches have salaries on the lower end of the scale. This would bring the average NBA coaching salary down a bit.

In any case, a good estimate for the average NBA coaching salary ranges from $4,000,000 – $6,000,000.

Typically, only the highest paid NBA coaches get their salaries and contract details released / leaked.

Let’s take a look at the top 5:

5 Highest-paid NBA coaches

“Hahaha, we’re so rich” – Greg Popovich and Steve Kerr, probably

Note: Nuggets coach Michael Malone recently signed an extension that would make him one of the “highest paid” coaches in the league, according to reports. The actual salary amount is not yet known, but it is probably around $10 million+. His new contract also doesn’t start for another couple of seasons, so he is not on this top 5 list (yet).

The current 5 highest paid NBA coaches are Gregg Popovich, Monty Williams, Steve Kerr, Erik Spoelstra, and Doc Rivers:

CoachTeamAnnual Salary
Gregg PopovichSan Antonio Spurs$16,000,000
Erik SpoelstraMiami Heat$15,000,000
Monty WilliamsDetroit Pistons$13,083,333
Doc RiversMilwaukee Bucks$11,500,000
Steve KerrGolden State Warriors$9,500,000

Four of the top five highest paid coaches (Kerr, Spoelstra, Popovich, Rivers) are part of the top 15 coaches in league history. Kerr, Spoelstra, and Pop have also each won multiple NBA championships, so seem worthy of their contracts.

Monty Williams has been one of the winningest coaches in recent seasons, and was Coach of the Year in 2021-2022 (with the Phoenix Suns).

Let’s take a closer look at the top 5 coaches:

Gregg Popovich, San Antonio Spurs ($16 million)

“Who’s Wemby? I came back for my $16 million” – Coach Popovich, probably

Popovich has been the coach of the Spurs for 26 seasons, and recently signed a new 5 year, $80 million dollar contract extension.

This is the richest coaching contract in NBA history (by annual salary). It surpassed Monty Williams’ 6-year, $78.5 million deal ($13 million per year). On an annual basis, it is also higher than Erik Spoelstra’s recent 8-year, $120 miillion deal ( $15 million per year).

The 74 year old Popovich is the most decorated coach currently still working in the NBA. Here are just a few facts:

If any coach deserves the money, it’s Pop!

The Spurs are currently in rebuild mode, and recently drafted ultra-hyped prospect Victor Wembanyama. It will be interesting to seem if Pop can help turn him into the next legend or not.

Interesting: The only current Spurs player with a higher annual salary than Coach Pop is Keldon Johnson ($20 million).

Erik Spoelstra, Miami Heat ($15 million)

“Which car should I buy with my next paycheck?” – Erik Spoelstra ponders

Erik Spoelstra recently signed the largest coaching deal in NBA history — an 8-year, $120+ million deal ($15 million / year). It is also the largest contract ever for a coach in North American sports history!

Erik Spoelstra started off his career with the Miami Heat as a video coordinator in 1995. He worked his way up to assistant coach, then Director of Scouting, before eventually becoming the head coach in 2008.

He is now one of the most successful coaches ever:

  • 3x NBA Champion: 2006, 2012, 2013 (one as an assistant)
  • 2x NBA All Star Game Head Coach
  • Coach of the Year (2017)
  • Top 15 Coach in NBA History

Spoelstra is also the first Asian-American coach in NBA history, as well as the first in any of the four major sports leagues (i.e. NBA, NFL, MLB, NHL).

The Miami Heat made the NBA Finals last season (2022-2023), but lost to the Denver Nuggets. They have a good chance to win it all next season if they can add a couple more pieces.

Monty Williams, Detroit Pistons ($13 million)

“Give me $5 million more, and it’s a deal!” – Monty Williams, probably

Monty Williams recently signed a record 6 year, $78.5 million contract with the Detroit Pistons.

It was the biggest contract ever for an NBA head coach at the time (since surpassed by Popovich and Spoelstra).

Williams was extremely successful the last few seasons as the coach of the Phoenix Suns (2019-2023). He had a .628 winning record (194 wins, and 115 losses) in the regular season, and .587 winning record in the playoffs (27 wins, 19 losses). He led the Suns to the finals in 2021, and was coach of the year in 2021-2022.

Unfortunately, the Suns were never able to win the championship, and Monty was fired at the end of last season.

We’ll see what he can do with a young Pistons team this season.

(Update 01/11/2024): Things are not going so well in Monty’s first season. He has led the Pistons to the longest losing streak in NBA history.

Doc Rivers, Milwaukee Bucks ($11.5 million)

    Doc Rivers’ bank account is forever grateful to Pierce and Garnett

Doc Rivers is back in the NBA after recently signing a deal with the Bucks worth around $40 million for 3.5 years (approx. $11.42 million/year).

He is taking over for the recently fired Adrian Griffin (who was making around $4 million / year).

Doc himself was fired just last season (2022-2023) by the 76ers, after stumbling in the playoffs.

Despite his playoff struggles, Doc is one of the most experienced coaches in NBA history, having now coached 25 seasons for 5 different teams (Orlando, Boston, LA Clippers, Philadelphia, Milwaukee).

His head coaching resume also includes:

  • NBA Champ (2008 – Boston Celtics)
  • Coach of the Year (2000 – Orlando Magic)
  • 3x All-Star Game head coach (2008, 2011, 2021)
  • Top 15 Coaches in NBA History

The Bucks currently have two superstars (Giannis, Lillard), and very high (i.e. championship) expectations over the next couple seasons. If Doc doesn’t get them to the Finals, he may be out of job quickly once again.

🤫 Don’t tell Giannis: Doc is infamous for being the only coach to ever blow three 3-1 leads in the playoffs. He has also blown six series after being up 3-2.

Steve Kerr, Golden State Warriors ($9,500,000)

“Thanks for getting me paid, Steph” — Steve Kerr, probably

Steve Kerr has been one of the most successful coaches the past decade.

Since taking over the Warriors head coaching job in 2014, the team has won 4 championships (2015, 2017, 2018, 2022), and attained the best regular season record in history (73-9) in 2015-2016.

Kerr won Coach of the Year in 2016, is a 2x NBA All-Star Game head coach, and is part of the Top 15 Coaches in NBA History.

He was an assistant on the gold-medal winning USA Olympic team in 2020, and is currently the team’s head coach.

Steve Kerr also has 5 championships as a player, and still holds the record for highest 3-point shooting percentage in NBA history.

The current Warriors team seems to be nearing the end of their era, but we’ll see if Kerr and Curry can squeeze out another championship before then.

Other notable highly paid coaches

Nick Nurse grinning at his bank account.

A few notable coaches just outside the top 5 estimated salaries include:

  • Jason Kidd, Dallas Mavericks ($8.5 million),
  • Nick Nurse, Philadelphia 76ers ($8 million),
  • Tom Thibodeau, New York Knicks ($8 million),
  • Rick Carlisle, Indiana Pacers ($7.25 million),

The current salaries of Kidd, Nick Nurse and Tom Thibodeau are very rough estimates, so they could very well be in the top 5.

Former coaches

Some other notable coaches that were very well paid, but fired recently (2022-2023, 2023-2024) include:

  • Steve Nash, Brooklyn Nets ($8 million)
  • Doc Rivers, Philadelphia 76ers ($10 million) (Doc is back in the league!)
  • Mike Budenholzer, Milwaukee Bucks ($8 million)
  • Adrian Griffin, Milwaukee Bucks ($4 million)

🦌 Interesting note: The Milwaukee Bucks owe a total of $18 million to their head coaches (1x current – Doc Rivers, 2x former – Budenholzer, Griffin) this season. (2023-2024)

How much do NBA assistant coaches make?

There are currently 203 assistant coaches in the NBA.

Unfortunately, salaries for the majority of assistant coaches are relatively unknown, as this information is not released by teams.

In 2019, the Washington Post estimated assistants make anywhere from $100,000 to $1,000,000.

Sometimes, there are high-profile assistant coach deals that have salary info released. Let’s take a look at a few:

How much does a top NBA assistant coach get paid?

Kevin Young of the Phoenix Suns is the highest paid assistant coach, ever.

From this info, we can assume the top NBA assistant coaches make between $1 million to $2 million.

FAQ

Are NBA coaches’ salaries guaranteed?

Mike Brown was paid by two teams at the same time. Genius.

It depends on the coach’s contract.

Usually, at least part of the contract is guaranteed.

For example, when Mike Brown was fired one year into his 5-year contract with the Cavaliers, he still got paid the remaining amount, because it was guaranteed.

Two years after getting fired, he got an assistant coaching job with the Warriors, so was earning two salaries at the same time. Nice!

What is the average NBA G League coach salary?

There is no official information on NBA G League coaching salaries.

In my G League Salary post, I estimate that coaches make at least over $50k per year. Using minor league baseball coach salaries as a comparison, G League head coaches probably earn somewhere in the range of $75k to $100k+.

Who are the longest tenured NBA coaches?

The current longest tenured NBA coaches are:

  • Gregg Poppovich, San Antonio Spurs, since 1996
  • Erik Spoelstra, Miami Heat, since 2008
  • Steve Kerr, Golden State Warriors, since 2014
  • Michael Malone, Denver Nuggets, since 2015

No other current NBA coach has been with their team for more than 5 years.

It’s no coincidence that 3 of the 4 longest tenured coaches are also part of the top 5 highest paid coaches (Popovich, Spoelstra, Kerr).

Michael Malone recently helped the Nuggets win their first NBA championship, and his new contract which starts in 2025 will also make him one of the “NBA’s highest paid coaches“.

Does the NBA have a salary cap for coaches?

No, there is no salary cap for coaches.

Unlike players’ salaries salaries, there is no maximum salary a coach can make.

There is also no limit on the contract length. Player’s contract length is limited to 5-6 years (including team options/extensions). Erik Spoelstra recently signed an 8-year extension.

Summary

There are only 30 NBA head coaches, and they all get paid pretty well.

Estimated salaries range from around $2 million to over $15 million per season.

Let me know your thoughts:

Are coaches worth their high salaries?

Who do you think is the best coach in the NBA?

Leave a comment below to let me know what you think:

Tags:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Larry Lee

Larry Lee

Larry is a basketball addict, and the founder of Hoop Dojo. He started Hoop Dojo to share his love of the game and help the next generation reach their full potential.