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Highest paid NBA coaches: Gregg Popovich, Monty Williams among the best paid

Who are the highest paid NBA coaches today? The Detroit Pistons’ decision to back up the Brinks Truck for Monty Williams changed the dynamics. But then the San Antonio Spurs topped the charts with Gregg Popovich roughly a month later.

But we can expect major jumps as it relates to the highest paid coaches moving forward. That includes Steve Kerr’s salary with the Golden State Warriors and what Erik Spoelstra will earn from the Miami Heat moving forward.

Below we look at the nine highest paid NBA coaches right now.

9. Tyronn Lue, Los Angeles Clippers

highest paid nba coaches: tyronn lue
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  • Tyronn Lue salary: $6.5 million

There had been rumors that the Clippers could very well part ways with Lue after a premature first-round exit in the NBA Playoffs. However, it must be noted that the Clippers were playing without Kawhi Leonard and Paul George throughout a majority of the regular season and the playoffs. Who would have success under those circumstances?

What we do know is that Lue will be on the hot seat this season if things start out slowly. Sure, he’s led teams to three NBA Finals appearances and a title. But that came with LeBron James in Cleveland. Lue has not proven himself without King James. That’s the cold hard truth.

Related: Highest paid players in the NBA today

8. Ime Udoka, Houston Rockets

highest paid nba coaches
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  • Ime Udoka salary: $7.13 million

A respected assistant during his seven-year run under Gregg Popovich in San Antonio, Udoka led the Boston Celtics to the NBA Finals in his first season with the team back in 2021-22. It seemed to be the start of a brilliant relationship between the two sides.

That’s when he was caught up in a scandal leading up to the 2022-23 season. This included allegedly having an affair with a subordinate within the Celtics’ organization. Udoka was quickly suspended for the entire season, before ultimately being replaced by Joe Mazzulla in a full-time role. Since then, he’s taken on the task to lead a Rockets team that is coming off consecutive 60-loss seasons. With Houston seen as a talented young team this season, it will be interesting to see how it does under Udoka.

7. Rick Carlisle, Indiana Pacers

highest paid nba coaches: rick carlisle
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  • Rick Carlisle salary: $7.25 million

Indiana’s head coach from 2003-07, Carlisle returned to the Pacers two seasons ago after a stellar 13-year-run with the Dallas Mavericks. Carlisle’s time in Big D included leading the franchise to its first and only NBA title back in 2011. All said, he posted a .537 winning percentage with the Mavericks — leading them to the playoffs nine times.

The Pacers are certainly hoping that their trust in Carlisle pays off moving forward. In the first two seasons of his second stint with Indiana, the team has posted a disastrous 60-104 record. It has the talent to become relevant in the Eastern Conference Playoff race once again. Whether Carlisle will be the guy to lead the team back to that relevance remains to be seen.

6. Jason Kidd, Dallas Mavericks

highet paid nba coaches: jason kidd
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  • Jason Kidd salary: $8 million

There was some thought that Dallas might fire Kidd after a disastrous 44-loss 2022-23 season. This came after the Mavericks earned a trip to the Western Conference Finals the previous year. It also came after general manager Nico Harrison and Co. pulled off a blockbuster deal for Kyrie Irving ahead of the in-season trade deadline.

Despite all of that, owner Mark Cuban opted to commit to Kidd for another season. He does have a track record of success with four playoff appearances in parts of seven seasons leading a bench. Unfortunately, that has not translated to playoff success. Still one of the highest paid NBA coaches, Kidd must prove his worth this season to keep his job in Big D.

5. Nick Nurse, Philadelphia 76ers

highest paid nba coaches: nick nurse
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  • Nick Nurse salary: $8 million

Nurse’s five-year run as the Toronto Raptors head coach came to a premature end following a down 2022-23 season. It was surprising to see the franchise move on from a man who led it to an NBA title and further league-wide relevance. But that’s the name of the game when it comes to NBA head coaches today.

Now with the Philadelphia 76ers and earning roughly $8 million annually, the pressure is squarely on Nurse to lead this team to the NBA title. Philly is coming off an ugly second-round exit at the hands of the Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference Playoffs. It boasts reigning MVP Joel Embiid. While the future of James Harden is firmly up in the air, it’s safe to assume front office head Daryl Morey and Co. have high expectations for Nurse after the contract Philadelphia handed him.

4. Erik Spoelstra, Miami Heat

highest paid nba coaches: erik spoelstra
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  • Erik Spoelstra salary: $8.5 million

To say that Spoelstra is among the most underrated head coaches in professional sports would be an understatement. Since starting as the Miami Heat’s video coordinator back in 1995, Spoelstra has ascended the ranks big time. He’s been Miami’s head coach since 2008-09, leading the team to the playoffs all but five times. That span has seen the Heat win two NBA titles with six trips to the Finals.

Still only 52 years old, the sky appears to be the limit for this Illinois native. He’s won 704 regular-season games. He boasts a .602 winning percentage in the playoffs. He led a No. 8 Heat seed to the NBA Finals last season. It’s going to lead to an absolutely massive raise at some point soon.

Related: Erick Spoelstra, Steve Kerr will soon become highest paid NBA coaches

3. Steve Kerr, Golden State Warriors

highest paid nba coaches: steve kerr
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
  • Steve Kerr salary: $9.5 million

Kerr is among the highest paid coaches, but the expectation is that he’ll become the single highest paid NBA coach at some point soon. That could lead Kerr to making upwards of $20 million annually. It’s also not like success hasn’t followed him wherever he goes. Kerr has led Golden State to four of the past nine NBA titles. He’s won 99 playoff games during that span. To put this into perspective, Golden State won all of 15 playoff games in the 24 years prior to his arrival in 2014-15.

With one more year remaining on his current contract, there’s an expectation that Kerr will be extended during the 2023-24 season. Golden State just lost longtime general manager Bob Myers. It is coming off a disappointing second-round exit in the NBA Playoffs. Having continuity on the bench, no matter the cost, must be in the cards for the Dubs moving forward.

2. Monty Williams, Detroit Pistons

highest paid nba coaches: monty williams
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  • Monty Williams salary: $13.05 million

It still is somewhat surprising that Williams is the league’s second-highest paid coach after his struggles in the NBA Playoffs with the Phoenix Suns over the past two seasons. Phoenix lost in the conference finals each season, falling in blowout fashion at home in an elimination game each time.

Even then, Williams is among the most respected basketball minds out there. He’s paid his dues as an assistant with the Portland Trail Blazers, Oklahoma City Thunder and Philadelphia 76ers while having success in multiple head coach roles. At $13.05 million per season, the pressure is squarely going to be on Williams to turn around a Pistons team that’s coming off a 65-loss campaign and has not won a playoff series since 2008.

1. Gregg Popovich, San Antonio Spurs (highest paid NBA coach)

highest paid nba coaches: gregg popovich
Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
  • Gregg Popovich salary: $16 million

In terms of NBA coach salary, Popovich is No. 1. For good reason. The Spurs’ head coach has won the most games in the history of the profession. He’s earned five NBA titles and three NBA Coach of the Year awards.

While it has been tough sledding for Pop and the Spurs in recent seasons, No. 1 pick Victor Wembanyama will change the franchise’s fortunes. He’s considered a generational NBA Draft prospect. After inking a five-year extension, the only question here is how much longer the future Hall of Fame coach will be on the bench. He’s set to turn 75 this season.

Related: Sportsnaut’s updated 2024 NBA mock draft

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