If you think some bad NBA players were making a lot of money, then wait until you find out about the NBA head coaches salaries in 2022 and 2023. I mean, being an NBA coach is no easy task by any means, but some of these guys haven’t earned that money.
I believe that all depends on your team’s goal. If you’re looking to crack a top-10 pick in the NBA Draft, then you should have no trouble with losing. But if you intend to build a contender, being stuck in basketball hell as a perennial first-round exit won’t do much to help.
Still, it’s not like NBA teams don’t have more than enough cash to spare and make their head coaching positions quite appealing with a steep salary. But hey, don’t you guys think you could do a better job than some of those coaches?
Spoiler alert: You can’t.
NBA head coach salaries 2022
You need good coaching to go places in the Associaton; it’s as simple as that. That’s why teams spend big on whoever’s taking the reins of their project.
So, without further ado, let’s take a look at the top 10 highest-paid NBA coaches in 2022-23, those guys we love one day and hate the other.
10. Tyronn Lue – Clippers, $6.5M
Tyronn Lue drew plenty of interest around the league when he became available. Some doubted his abilities as a coach and claimed he was just a LeBron James puppet, but it didn’t take long before he proved them wrong with the Los Angeles Clippers.
Regardless of who’s on the floor, Lue’s Clippers are always in a position to win. He’s not to blame for Kawhi Leonard’s part-time availability or Paul George’s injury-proneness, but he doesn’t make any excuses, either. Also, he’s proven to be a master at making adjustments in the playoffs.
9. Rick Carlisle – Pacers, $7.25M
Finding out that Rick Carlisle was leaving the Dallas Mavericks was a major shocker. He immediately became one of the best available coaches after his long track record of success in Dallas, and the young Indiana Pacers are also thriving under his tough-love style and tutelage.
Carlisle is a players’ coach, but he won’t hesitate to hold his stars accountable, either. He’s helped the Pacers establish a strong defensive identity, as well as an unselfish offense where everybody’s getting their touches. He’s going to do wonders with Tyrese Haliburton.
8. Jason Kidd – Mavericks, $8M
Jason Kidd is the first of many guys whose current NBA coaching salaries sit at the $8 million plateau. It was kind of shocking to find out about this, as Kidd’s first two stints in charge of an NBA team (with the Brooklyn Nets and Milwaukee Bucks) were far from successful.
But after some time lurking in the shadows as an assistant, Kidd has now become a highly-respected coach. He’s helped the Dallas Mavericks become a much better team defensively, not to mention his mentorship of Luka Doncic as a playmaker, rebounder, and do-it-all guard.
7. Steve Nash – Nets, $8M
If the New York Knicks are already trying to find some Tom Thibodeau replacements, then maybe Steve Nash will be willing to take the job for a reasonable salary. I mean, he’s getting paid $8 million this season despite being fired early in the campaign, so it’s not like he needs the money.
As much as I love Steve Nash, the player, I have to admit that Steve Nash, the coach, completely fleeced the Brooklyn Nets. He was way over his head from day one, he didn’t have his star players’ trust, and he looked lost and out of ideas out there. I hope he gets another chance, as few people know more about hoops than him.
6. Nick Nurse – Raptors, $8M
Not so long ago, not many people around the NBA knew who Nick Nurse was and why he got a chance to coach the Toronto Raptors. Fast-forward to today, and he’s widely known as one of the best tacticians in the league. He’s earned every single penny from that extension.
Nurse is the ultimate basketball nerd. He will throw countless different looks at you and your best scorer, and more often than not, he’ll succeed. Moreover, he’s done an outstanding job of finding and developing young and overlooked talents.
5. Mike Budenholzer – Bucks, $8M
Mike Budenholzer has been one of the best regular-season coaches in the league for quite a while now. He thrived with the Atlanta Hawks before getting the nod with the Milwaukee Bucks. However, he often underperformed and failed to make adjustments in the postseason.
But hey, coach Bud was still in charge when the Bucks won their first NBA championship in five decades, so we have to give credit where its due. His reluctance to adjust his rotations or play his starters heavy minutes could come back to haunt him in the postseason again this year, though.
4. Erik Spoelstra – Heat, $8.5M
Erik Spoelstra outlasted LeBron James with the Miami Heat, which is no minor thing. Pat Riley preferred keep his defensive-minded coach instead of the superstar forward, which only speaks volumes as to how much trust he has in Spoelstra, and for very good reason.
The Miami Heat have thrived by finding diamonds in the rough and other team’s misfits and outcasts. They develop them and turn them into legit rotation players making millions, and plenty of that has to do with coach Spo’s great eye for talent. He’s one of the finest tacticians on Earth.
3. Doc Rivers – Sixers, $8.5M
Philadelphia 76ers fans should be livid at the fact that Doc Rivers, of all people, is the third-highest-earning coach in the National Basketball Association. Clearly, he’s still living off that title in 2008 when Tom Thibodeau put together one of the best defenses in the league as his assistant coach.
No one has blown more 3-1 leads in the playoffs than Doc Rivers. Look it up if you don’t take our word for it. He seems reluctant to learn from his mistakes, and his rotations are borderline awful. Rivers has often been bailed out by coaching elite talents, yet he hasn’t done much with it.
2. Steve Kerr – Warriors, $9.5M
It didn’t take long for Steve Kerr to prove himself to be one of the biggest basketball minds in the world. Fortunately, he chose the Golden State Warriors over the New York Knicks, as no one could’ve fixed that mess at that time, and Kerr would have never gotten a chance to prove his worth.
While Mark Jackson deserves a lot of credit for paving the way for the Dubs’ dynasty, it was Kerr who was the one who made the adjustments and established that free-motion, run-and-gun offense that made them so unstoppable. His rotations are elite, and his teams often rank at the top on both ends of the floor.
1. Gregg Popovich – Spurs, $11.5M
And unsurprisingly, Gregg Popovich is currently sitting at the top of the list of NBA head coaches’ salaries 2022. I mean, the guy has been in charge of the San Antonio Spurs for quite some time now, so it’s not like he hasn’t earned that cash.
Popovich has made a strong case for being the greatest coach in basketball history, even ahead of Red Auerbach, Phil Jackson, and Pat Riley. He turned the Spurs into a dynasty and made them the standard for what a winning organization looks like.