A hefty payday isn’t the only thing that comes with being an NBA player at the end of the day. It is well-known that some of the league’s head coaches earn a substantial amount of money simply for writing X’s and O’s on a whiteboard, calling out plays, and leading their teams to a championship triumph. From Detroit Pistons coach Dwayne Casey, who earns a whopping $6 million per season, to San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich, who earns $11 million per season, here is a list of the NBA’s highest-paid head coaches.
Steve Kerr – $9.5 Million
Steve Kerr has had an illustrious career as a player and as a head coach in the NBA. Kerr was a member of the National Basketball Association from 1988 to 2003, bouncing around from squad to team. Despite this, he went on to win five championship rings, two with the San Antonio Spurs and three with the Chicago Bulls, including the NBA Finals in 2003. Since 2014, he has served as the head coach of the Golden State Warriors, and he has not disappointed his fans. Using an all-star roster led by Steph Curry, Kerr has guided the Warriors to three consecutive championship titles since 2011. With eight NBA championships under his belt, it’s no surprise that Kerr earns a salary of $9.5 million per year.
Dwayne Casey – $6 million
Dwayne Casey was a highly sought-after prospect right out of high school. From 1979 until 1989, Casey worked as an assistant coach for his alma mater, the University of Kentucky Wildcats, where he played four seasons and helped the team win an NCAA Championship. He was also named captain his final year. Casey returned to the NBA after several years of coaching both in Europe and the United States of America. He will be the head coach of the Detroit Pistons starting in 2021. Casey was named NBA Coach of the Year in his first season as their head coach. At the time of writing, his annual pay is a stunning $6 million.
Billy Donovan – $6 Million
Billy Donovan has been obsessed with the sport of basketball since he was a high school student. During his undergraduate years, he was a starter at point guard for Providence College, where he graduated in 2011. He spent a few years attempting to make it in the NBA, playing for the New York Knicks, but he retired from professional basketball in 1989 after failing miserably. That same year, he decided to pursue a position as an assistant coach for the Kentucky Wildcats. He subsequently went on to coach at Marshall University before taking over as head coach of the Florida Gators from 1996 to 2015. Donovan subsequently transitioned to the NBA, where he coached the Oklahoma City Thunder before accepting a position as head coach of the Chicago Bulls in 2019. His annual compensation is $6 million.
Tyronn Lue – $7 Million
Tyronn Lue has had a successful basketball career to far. Following his selection by the Denver Nuggets in the first round of the 1998 NBA draft, Lue was moved to the Los Angeles Lakers, where he went on to collect two championship rings during his time with the Lakers. His final season as a professional athlete took place in 2009. That same year, he began working as an assistant coach for the Boston Celtics, where he stayed for two seasons. The Los Angeles Clippers hired Lue to be their head coach in 2020 after he had previously worked with the Cleveland Cavaliers. Lue has coached the Clippers since then. His current pay is $7 million dollars per year.
Gregg Popovich – $11 Million
Gregg Popovich was a member of the United States Air Force Academy’s football team from 1966 to 1970. He decided to forego the NBA draft and instead pursue a coaching career. This turned out to be a good thing because he is now widely regarded as one of the finest NBA coaches of all time. “Coach Pop” understands what he’s doing, as a five-time NBA Champion, three-time NBA Coach of the Year, and four-time NBA All-Star head coach, to name a few accolades. The Spurs have had him as their head coach since 1996, and he will win his 1,300th game with the team in 2021, marking a milestone in his career. He is deserving of every nickel of his $11 million annual salary and bonus.
Rick Carlisle – $7 Million
Rick Carlisle was selected by the Boston Celtics in the first round of the NBA Draft after playing his last two years of college basketball at the University of Virginia. Alongside Larry Bird, Carlisle was on the victorious team for the 1986 NBA Championships. In 1989, he announced his retirement from professional basketball. From 1989 until 2000, Carlisle worked as an assistant coach for a variety of teams. The Detroit Pistons in 2001, the Indiana Pacers in 2003, and lastly the Dallas Mavericks in 2008 were the teams that finally gave him a head coaching position. He is one of just 11 people in history to have won a championship as both a coach and a player. Carlisle’s annual pay is a respectable $7 million.
Michael Malone – $2 Million
Michael Malone is the son of former NBA head coach Brendan Malone, and it appears that the game has always been in his blood. Following his four-year career with the Loyola Greyhounds, Malone went on to hold assistant coaching positions at a number of different universities, beginning with Oakland University. In the years between 1994 and 2013, Malone moved from assistant coaching position to assistant coaching position before landing a job as head coach of the Sacramento Kings in 2013-2014. Malone has recently taken on the role of head coach for the Denver Nuggets, where he earns a $2 million salary per year.
Nick Nurse – $8 Million
After a successful collegiate career that saw him play 111 games for the University of Northern Iowa, Nick Nurse failed to make it to the National Basketball Association (NBA). Instead, he spent a year as a player with the Derby Rams before transitioning into a coaching position with the team. Since 1989, he has been the one in charge, beginning with his own university, the University of Michigan. In the following years, Nurse rose through the ranks to become the head coach of more than one D-League team before gaining his current post as head coach of the Toronto Raptors. In 2019, he was instrumental in the Raptors’ first-ever NBA Championship victory. A year later, he was voted Coach of the Year by the National Basketball Association.
Steve Nash – $8.7 Million
Steve Nash is a very inexperienced coach, having only recently completed his professional career with the Los Angeles Lakers in 2015. However, it was a long and fruitful career. Despite the fact that he never received a championship ring, Nash retired from the NBA as a two-time NBA Most Valuable Player and an eight-time NBA All-Star. In the years following his retirement from the court, Nash continued to work as a consultant for teams such as the Golden State Warriors before being named head coach of the Brooklyn Nets in 2020. His current annual income is a respectable $8.7 million.
Scott Brooks – $7 Million
Scott Brooks was a nomad for the majority of his professional life, bouncing from college to the NBA and back. During his college career, he competed for not one, but three different institutions, with his final two years spent at the University of California at Irvine. After that, he went undrafted in the 1987 draft and spent the next decade bouncing around from farm team to NBA team until he retired in 2001. Brooks then moved on to a variety of coaching positions, including stints as an assistant coach for the Denver Nuggets, a head coach for the Sacramento Kings, and a general manager for the Oklahoma City Thunder, among others. In 2016, he was offered the position of head coach for the Washington Wizards, which he accepted. His annual salary is an incredible $7 million.
Monty Williams – $3 Million
Monty Williams was a small forward for the University of Notre Dame from 1989 until 1994. He was then drafted by the New York Knicks in the 1994 NBA Draft, where he remained until his release from the franchise in 1996. A decade after beginning his NBA career with the New York Knicks and progressing through the Spurs, Nuggets, and Magic, Williams finally retired from the league in 2003, following one season with the Philadelphia 76ers. Following two years of playing professionally, he began his coaching career as an assistant for the Portland Trail Blazers. During the 2019 season, Williams signed a five-year contract with the Phoenix Suns and was named the NBCA Coach of the Year for the season 2020-2021. Williams’ salary will be $3 million in 2021, according to Forbes.
Eric Spoelstra – $3 Million
Eric Spoelstra finally accepted a basketball scholarship offer from the University of Portland after receiving a number of other offers earlier. He was a member of the team for all four years, and he was named the West Coast Conference’s freshman of the year in 1989, among other honors. He was never able to make it as a professional basketball player, but he has had some success as a coach with the Miami Heat. Since taking over as head coach of the Los Angeles Lakers in 2008, Spoelstra has guided the team to two NBA Championships. In addition, he became one of just six coaches in history to record 600 victories with a single team in 2021. Currently, his annual compensation with the Heat is $3 million.
Frank Vogel – $2 Million
When Frank Vogel was the student manager of the Kentucky Wildcats men’s basketball team, it appeared as though he was always interested in the process of getting a team off the court. In 2001, he joined the Boston Celtics as an assistant coach, where he stayed for the rest of his coaching career. Not until 2011 did he receive his first head coaching position, this time with the Indiana Pacers. With the Los Angeles Lakers in 2019, Vogel will be returning to his former team, the Indiana Pacers, after a few years with the Orlando Magic. And, based on the fact that the team won the NBA Championship in 2020, the match appears to be successful. His salary is currently $2 million.
Brad Stevens – $3.6 Million
In addition to playing basketball and obtaining a degree in economics at DePauw University, Brad Stevens graduated from the school. However, he did not immediately enter the coaching field after graduating from college. His first job was as an assistant coach with the Butler University program, which he started in 2001. From 2007 until 2013, he served as the university’s head coach, guiding the team to its first-ever Final Four in the process. Stevens has served as the head coach of the Boston Celtics since the 2013 season. Stephen Stevens has been the team’s leader in the NBA Playoffs every year since 2014, earning him a lucrative $3.6 million payday. His contract with the squad is for a stunning $22 million over the course of six years.
Alvin Gentry – $3.5 Million
Even though Alvin Gentry was a standout point guard at Appalachian State University, he was never drafted into the NBA as a player. Instead, he worked for a private company for a few years before accepting an assistant coaching position at Baylor University in 1981. Gentry then went on to have a successful professional career, bouncing around from team to team, both at the collegiate and professional levels. Gentry was sacked as the head coach of the New Orleans Pelicans after the team’s disastrous 2019-2020 season. The Sacramento Kings, on the other hand, recruited him and hired him as an associate head coach. He will receive a salary of $3.5 million per year.
Terry Stotts – $5 Million
The Houston Rockets selected Terry Stotts in the first round of the 1980 NBA Draft after watching him play for the Oklahoma Sooners basketball team. Unfortunately, he did not make the cut and ended up playing for a number of different teams in Europe. After retiring from the court in 1990, Stotts quickly found work as an assistant coach for a number of teams, including the Dallas Mavericks, who won the NBA championship in 2011. During the following season, Stotts was promoted to head coach of the Portland Trail Blazers, where he has remained since. A year after his arrival, Stotts has guided the team to more than one championship. His current 2021 salary is $5 million.
James Borrego – $2 Million
James Borrego attended the University of San Diego, where he received an offer to work as an assistant coach for the men’s basketball team shortly after graduating. He accepted the position immediately. In 2003, he began his professional basketball career as an assistant coach with the San Antonio Spurs, where he remained till this day. Following a successful assistant coaching career, Borrego was awarded a four-year contract to serve as the head coach of the Charlotte Hornets in 2018. Despite the fact that Borrego is a two-time NBA Champion, he has failed to win a championship with the Hornets. His current pay is $2 million dollars per year.
Stan Van Gundy – $7 Million
When it comes to basketball, Stan Van Gundy has always been in the thick of things. However, he was never a talented enough player to make it to a Division I school during his college years. Instead, he went to The College at Brockport, a State University of New York, and played for his father’s team. Following that, he went on to coach at a number of other universities, both as a head coach and as an assistant coach. It wasn’t until 1995 that Van Gundy was promoted to the NBA, where he served as an assistant coach for the Miami Heat for two seasons. He will be the head coach of the New Orleans Pelicans starting in 2020. Van Gundy is currently paid a salary of $7 million each year.
Quin Snyder – $2 Million
Quin Snyder was a Duke Blue Devil from 1985 to 1989, during which time he played point guard for the men’s basketball team and helped his club reach the Final Four on three separate occasions during his tenure at Duke. Snyder never made it to the NBA, but he didn’t have to wait long to land a position as a basketball coach. His first employment was as an assistant for the Los Angeles Clippers, which he started in 1992. After spending some time coaching at the collegiate level, Snyder returned to the NBA, where he worked as an assistant for several seasons. The Utah Jazz hired him as their head coach in 2014, and he has been there ever since. His current pay is $2 million dollars per year.
Doc Rivers – $10 Million
Doc Rivers was picked by the Atlanta Hawks in the third round of the 2011 NBA Draft following his third year at Marquette University. It was there that he found remarkable success as a defensive player, something for which he became well-known throughout his playing and coaching career. Before embarking on a coaching career in 1999, Rivers concluded his professional career in 1996, after which he retired. He began his coaching career as the head coach of the Orlando Magic, before moving on to the Boston Celtics, where he achieved considerable success, including winning the NBA Championship in 2008. Since the beginning of 2021, Rivers has been the head coach of the Philadelphia 76ers, earning a salary of $10 million.
Jason Kidd – $8 Million
Jason Kidd was hired as the head coach of the Dallas Mavericks prior to the start of the 2021 season, and he is reportedly paid $8 million per year. The large sum is based on his extensive and remarkable professional background. When Kidd was a player, he was a star for the Dallas Mavericks, and he was instrumental in the team’s rise to prominence at the time. Upon retiring from playing, he went into coaching, making stops in Brooklyn and Milwaukee before returning to his hometown.
Taylor Jenkins – $2.5 Million
A little more than $3 million is earned by Taylor Jenkins as the head coach of the Memphis Grizzlies per season. He was hired in 2019 and has demonstrated an aptitude for dealing with young players from the beginning of his tenure with the team. With one of the NBA’s youngest rosters, the Grizzlies should be able to give Jenkins a lasting impression on the organization.
Mike Budenholzer – $2 Million
You might be surprised to learn that the head coach of the Milwaukee Bucks, who won the NBA Championship last season, earns one of the lowest salaries in the league. We’re confident he’ll take this into consideration when it comes time for the franchise to consider extending his contract. Budenholzer previously worked as an assistant coach for the Spurs and as the head coach of the Hawks before taking over as the head coach in Milwaukee.
Nate McMillan – ?
The NBA does not publish the salaries of all of its head coaches, which is a disappointment. Nate McMillan, the general manager of the Atlanta Hawks, presently receives an unknown yearly salary from the organization. The long-time bench staple, who began his coaching career with the Seattle SuperSonics in 2000, isn’t likely to be on the lower end of any rating scale.
Ime Udoka – ?
The specifics of Udoka’s head coaching deal with the Boston Celtics have not been made public, as has been the case with McMillan. Given that this is his first head coaching position, we would anticipate that he is being compensated at the lower end of the pay scale. Before taking the Celtics job, Udoka was regarded as a highly sought-after head coaching candidate for a number of years.
J.B.Bickerstaff – ?
After John Beilen resigned as the head coach of the Cleveland Cavaliers in early 2020, J.B. Bickerstaff was hired as the team’s new head coach. After 10 games as the team’s interim coach, the organization hired him to be the team’s permanent coach for the next four years. Bickerstaff’s task of restoring the Cavaliers to relevancy will not be simple. When LeBron James is absent, the squad appears to be doomed to defeat, which is a problem that he will have to resolve.
Stephen Silas – ?
It was a new beginning for the Houston Rockets in 2020 without James Harden, which meant a new beginning for head coach Mike D’Antoni as well. Stephen Silas has been appointed to usher in the new era in Texas, and his compensation has not yet been determined. Silas’s journey has not been without bumps in the road. The Rockets will need to find a new face of the franchise to develop around soon if they are to succeed without Harden.
Chris Finch – $3 Million
Chris Finch, the Minnesota Timberwolves head coach in his first season in the position, will earn an estimated $3 million to guide the team. As part of its ongoing rebuilding effort, the franchise acquired Finch from the Toronto Raptors’ coaching staff, which has lasted what feels like a decade. Will Finch be able to turn the franchise around? We believe this is the case because of the abundance of young talent on the roster.
Willie Green – $2 Million
The New Orleans Pelicans think they have the talent to win a title with Zion Williamson as their starting point guard. They are hoping to have the right personnel in place now that they have hired Willie Green as their first-year head coach. Green’s 2021 season hasn’t gotten off to a great start, but once the club gets into a rhythm, it has the potential to make some noise.
Luke Walton – $6 Million
During Luke Walton’s first two seasons as head coach of the Sacramento Kings, things were not going well. With two years and $11.5 million remaining on his deal, the front office is adamant about not terminating their relationship and letting him go. The Kings have been a pleasant surprise thus far in the 2021 season, and the forced patience of keeping Walton around may just be paying dividends this season.
Wes Unseld Jr. – ?
Wes Unseld Jr. will be taking over for Scott Brooks in Washington, and he will have huge shoes to fill. He also has the enjoyable chore of assisting in the rebuilding of a program that Brooks transformed into a regular contender with the addition of John Wall. Will the team’s return to the playoffs be relatively quick? With Unseld’s emphasis on defensive efficiency, it is possible that it will be completed more quickly than anticipated.
John Calipari – $8 Million
Since 2009, John Calipari has served as the head coach of the University of Kentucky Wildcats. In addition to being one of the most successful coaches in the history of collegiate basketball, he is also one of the best paid, with an annual salary of $8 million. In 2012, Calipari and Kentucky were victorious in the NCAA Championship. During his coaching career, he has been selected college coach of the year three times.
Mike Krzyzewski – $7 Million
Coach K has been the head coach of the Duke Blue Devils since 1980, making him one of the most tenured coaches in sports history. Since then, he has advanced to the Final Four 12 times, winning the championship five times. Coach K has been elected coach of the year three times, and he was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 2001, among other honors.
Jay Wright – $6 Million
On January 1, 2001, Jay Wright was named the head basketball coach of Villanova. Prior to that, he worked in the same capacity at Hofstra University. An estimated $6 million per year is earned by Wright, who has won the NCAA Division I Tournament on two separate occasions. Wright has a 489-190 record as a head coach at Villanova, which makes him a bargain at this point in the game.
Tom Izzo – $4 Million
Head coach at Michigan State since 1995, Tom Izzo earns approximately $4 million per year, a pay that has more than compensated him for his contributions to the program over the years. In 2016, Izzo was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame, which was a great honor for him. There is no end in sight for the 66-year-old veteran who is forced to watch from the sidelines.
Chris Beard – $5.2 Million
Chris Beard left his position as head coach of the Texas Tech Red Raiders after five seasons to take over as head coach of the University of Texas Longhorns in Austin. His pay for the first season is a whopping $5.2 million, which suggests that there will be great expectations for the program right now. Beard has a career record of 208-84, so we’re confident in his ability to handle big expectations.
Rick Barnes – $4.7 Million
During his sixth season as head coach of the Volunteers, Rick Barnes makes a little less than $5 million each year on the job. Tennessee has been home to a long-time head coach who began his career at George Mason in 1987 and has been there since 2015. His finest finish with the school so far came in 2018, when the team finished 31-6 in the regular season and advanced to the Sweet 16 round of the NCAA tournament under his guidance.
Bruce Pearl – $4 Million
Southern Indiana University hired Bruce Pearl as their head coach for the first time in 1992. Since then, he has only had two seasons in which he finished with a losing record. Both of his seasons were in the last decade at Auburn, where he is currently a member of the coaching staff. Pearl has a 600-237 overall coaching record, which translates to a.717 career winning percentage.
Fred Hoiberg – $4 Million
After a brief stint as the head coach of the Chicago Bulls in the NBA, Fred Hoiberg returned to the college level, being hired the head coach of the Nebraska Cornhuskers in 2019. So far, Hoiberg’s brief stay in Nebraska has been fruitful, but there is reason to believe that he is on the verge of transforming the program’s fortunes.
Chris Mack – $4 Million
Chris Mack spent a decade as the head coach of Xavier University before taking over as the head coach of the University of Louisville. With a salary of $4 million per season, it is expected that he will bring victories to the program, which he has done thus far. Mack has a 57-28 record with the Louisville Cardinals. Overall, he has a 272-125 record as a head coach throughout his career.