How Much Do NBA Coaches Make? The Truth

Many NBA fans see basketball players on the court most of the time. But behind those hardworking athletes are industrious coaches. Without coaches, league players will have trouble finding order in their plays. It’s like the NBA coaches are the brains while the players are the arms and legs of operations. So it can make you wonder, how much money do NBA coaches make?

NBA coaches earn about $3 million USD per year. However, the salaries can increase or decrease depending on certain factors, such as the perceived net value of the professional in the market. The amount of money that partnered businesses can spend for their associated teams can also play a vital role in the salary of NBA coaches.

Continue reading to know how much money an NBA coach can earn. Plus, you’ll also know the highest-paid coaches in the professional basketball scene.

What is the Average Salary of an NBA Coach?

NBA Coaches

An NBA coach earns about US$ 3 million yearly with some earning over US$ 10 million. The coach’s net value in the market plays an important role in the money he earns. Increasing the professional’s marketability requires the careful handling of finances for himself and his team. Additionally, a team projected to win in a specific season can increase the odds of coaches gaining more money from their salary.

Who are the Highest-Paid NBA Coaches?

Behind every NBA team champion is a hardworking coach that thinks of successful strategies. Teams would become crippled if coaches couldn’t think of season-winning plays. With that said, some coaches perform better than others, leading to endorsement deals and high market values. As such, these unsung heroes of professional basketball courts earn more money than others in the league. Here’s a list of the highest-paid coaches in the NBA.

1. Gregg Popovich

NBA coach Gregg Popovich

Born in January 1949, Gregg Charles Popovich is the president and head coach of the San Antonio Spurs. He took over these roles in 1996 and has been with the team since that year. At the time of writing, Popovich is already 72 years old and continues to support his team by thinking of ways to make its members stand out.

Often called ‘Coach Pop’ or ‘Pop,’ Popovich didn’t start his professional career in the NBA. Instead, he started working on active duty with the US Air Force. Then, he joined the US Armed Forces Basketball Team before acquiring an invitation to become the coach for the 1972 US Olympic Basketball Team. Popovich returned to the US Force Academy as an assistant coach one year later.

Popovich then took other coaching jobs as both head coach and assistant coach roles. In 1988, he entered the NBA as an assistant coach for the San Antonio Spurs. But he transferred to the Golden State Warriors with the same role in 1992. Popovich returned to the Spurs four years later, but this time he took on the mantle as the team’s president and head coach.

With an annual salary of US$ 11 million, Popovich is currently the highest-paid NBA coach. Despite his age, he’s still quite strong in pushing his team to its limits for its members to improve and excel.

2. Steve Nash

Steve Nash
As a holder of one of the highest assist records in NBA history, Stephen John Nash is a former NBA player who is now the head coach of the Brooklyn Nets. Being a former league player, Nash has the knowledge and experience to help his team win matches. Nash signed the four-year contract in 2020 with Jacque Vaughn signed up to be the assistant. In an interview with CBS Sports, Nash said:
"I am honored to have this opportunity with such a first-class organization and would like to thank Sean, Joe, and his wife, Clara for having faith in my ability to lead this team forward. Coaching is something I knew I wanted to pursue when the time was right, and I am humbled to be able to work with the outstanding group of players and staff we have here in Brooklyn. I am as excited about the prospects of the team on the court as I am about moving to Brooklyn with my family and becoming impactful members of this community."

He even won the Eastern Conference Coach of the Month award in February 2021. This recognition was also the first for the team since 2014. Therefore, it’s no surprise that his average annual salary is over US$ 9 million.

3. Doc Rivers

Doc Rivers

Glenn Anton ‘Doc’ Rivers is a former NBA player that is now the head coach for the Philadelphia 76ers. During his professional career, Rivers represented the US national team in the 1982 FIBA World Championship. Here, the team won the silver medal, which was an emotional win since the last shot didn’t count. If it did, Rivers’ team would’ve been the champions.

One year after being a coach for the US national team, Rivers entered the NBA as a player for the Atlanta Hawks. Standing at 6 feet 4 inches, Rivers became the Atlanta team’s point guard. He would stay with this team for eight years before moving to the Los Angeles Clippers. Rivers also played for and with the New York Knicks and San Antonio Spurs. In 1996, he retired as a player but returned to the league as a coach for the Orlando Magic team in 1999.

During his coaching career, Doc Rivers has his fair share of achievements. For instance, he led the Boston Celtics to become the champions in 2008. The league also named him the NBA Coach of the Year in 2000. As the 76ers head coach, Rivers earned his 945th win at the start of the 2020 to 2021 season, beating the previous record-holder Bill Fitch. With these records, Rivers is now pocketing an average of US$ 8 million per year for his coaching job.

Final Words

NBA coaches earn millions of dollars per year. Many coaches earn about US$ 3 million on average. However, some coaches, like Doc Rivers, Steve Nash, and Gregg Popovich, earn more than others because of their performance and market value.

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