Who Are the Highest-Paid Coaches in the NBA? A Full Breakdown

Which professional basketball coaches are raking in the dough?
Mar 7, 2024; Sacramento, California, USA; San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich stands on the court
Mar 7, 2024; Sacramento, California, USA; San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich stands on the court / Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

Monday brought news that Dan Hurley decided to turn down the Los Angeles Lakers and stay at UConn. Of the many aspects of the news, perhaps the most notable was that the Lakers were willing to pony up the big bucks to land their target.

In reporting Hurley is staying put, ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski revealed L.A. was prepared to make Hurley one of the six highest-paid coaches in the NBA — to the tune of a six-year deal worth $70 million, good for more than $10 million annually.

Naturally, this begs the question of what coaches would have been making more than Hurley, as well as who would've been making less. NBA head coaching salaries are not the tightly-guarded secrets that NFL head coaching salaries generally are, but teams are rarely willing to plainly spell out how much they are paying their head coaches.

That does not stop the information from getting out, though. There are sourced reports on the contract value and annual salary of the top coaches in the league.

With that in mind, who are the highest-paid coaches in the NBA?

Highest-Paid NBA Coaches

Below is a table listing the five highest-paid NBA head coaches, per NBC.

NAME

TEAM

SALARY

RECORD

Steve Kerr

Golden State Warriors

$17.5 million

519-274

Gregg Popovich

San Antonio Spurs

$16 million

1,388-821

Erik Spoelstra

Miami Heat

$15 million

750-527

Tyronn Lue

Los Angeles Clippers

$14 million

312-217

Monty Williams

Detroit Pistons

$13 million

381-404

Based on these numbers, Hurley would have slotted in behind Williams.

You may be asking why there are only five coaches listed. That's because, until recently, NBA head coach salaries were not interesting enough topics for insiders to report on. Combined with how stingy teams tend to be with this sort of information and reporters like Wojnarowski end up only reporting on the biggest numbers such as above.

That is not always the case. Mike Brown's negotiations with the Sacramento Kings, for example, were heavily covered and the news spread quickly once he reached a deal that would pay him $8.5 million annually. But for the most part there is little solid reporting on how much coaches around the league make.

The next question, then, is why do the coaches mentioned above warrant investigative reporting and high salaries?

NBA Coach Salary

Steve Kerr

Kerr signed a two-year extension worth $35 million with the Golden State Warriors in February, making him the highest-paid coach in the NBA. It is not hard to understand why. Kerr took over the Dubs in 2014 and immediately found success, winning four NBA titles in 10 years at the helm. Kerr is one of the winningest head coaches in the modern era and certainly one of the most respected.

The players play the game, but every great player needs a good head coach to put them in position to succeed. Kerr did that to such an extent that he created a modern dynasty behind Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green. Which essentially earned him the right to ask for whatever he wants in contract negotiations.

Gregg Popovich

Coach Pop needs little introduction, but we'll go full speed ahead anyway. Popovich is one of the best head coaches in NBA history from just about every angle. He's coached the San Antonio Spurs since 1994 and won more than 1,000 games on the team's bench. He helmed a dynasty of his own centered around Tim Duncan, Tony Parker, and Manu Ginobili. Popovich won multiple titles with that core, with the last coming in 2014 over the dying embers of LeBron James' Miami Heat team.

Popovich is a legend and that's why the Spurs gave him a massive five-year, $80 million deal last offseason to stay with the franchise until (presumably) the end of his career.

Erik Spoelstra

Spoelstra's rise from video coordinator to championship-winning head coach is the stuff of legends and the Miami Heat were happy to reward him accordingly. After winning two titles with LeBron's Big 3 and twice winning the Eastern Conference with the Jimmy Butler/Bam Adebayo core, he signed an eight-year deal worth $120 million with the Heat in January 2024.

Spoelstra is widely recognized as one of the best tactical coaches in the game and, at only 53, has many good years ahead of him. Miami was wise to lock him up for the long run.

Tyronn Lue

Unlike the names above, Lue has not won a championship with his current team. He is a title-winning head coach after helping lead the 2016 Cleveland Cavaliers to the greatest comeback in NBA Finals history, but Lue has spent the last few years in Los Angeles with the Clippers. He's gone 184-134 despite dealing with numerous injuries to Kawhi Leonard and Paul George, making one deep playoff run since he was hired ahead of the 2020-'21 season.

In May 2024, Lue signed a five-year $70 million deal with the Clippers. He has clearly found success with the franchise and they are happy to have him.

Monty Williams

Many an eyebrow was raised around the NBA when Williams signed a gigantic $78.5 million deal with the Detroit Pistons last summer. At the time it was the biggest contact given out to an NBA head coach in history. Williams had just finished up an uneven final season with the Phoenix Suns but was only two years removed from an NBA Finals appearance.

It took almost no time for things to go sideways. The Pistons set an NBA record for longest losing streak under Williams' watch and finished the 2023-'24 season with only 14 wins. Williams remains in place as the team's head coach but will have to start showing he's worth his high salary soon.


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Liam McKeone

LIAM MCKEONE

Liam McKeone is a Senior Writer for the Breaking & Trending News Team at Sports Illustrated. In addition to his role as a writer, he collaborates with other teams across Minute Media to help define his team’s content strategy. He has been in the industry as a content creator since 2017, and prior to joining SI in 2024, Liam worked for NBC Sports Boston and The Big Lead. In addition to his work as a writer, he has hosted the Press Pass Podcast covering sports media and The Big Stream covering pop culture. A graduate of Fordham University, Liam is always up for a good debate and enjoys loudly arguing about sports, rap music, books, and video games. Liam has been a member of the National Sports Media Association (NSMA) since 2020.