When it comes to NBA coaches, there have been a few over the last few decades that have made an impact on the sport. Those with large legacies result either being players themselves, moving their careers to the executive level, or they have shown steady growth and progress with each team that they have coached. Below are the richest NBA coaches of all time, with some retired and others currently on the sidelines.
20. James Borrego - $2 Million
Currently, the head coach for the Charlotte Hornets through 2022, Jame Borrego comes in at number 20 on the list of the richest NBA coaches of all time. James Borrego's current contract with the Charlotte Hornets is $2 Million a year, with a four-year contract total of $8 Million.
19. Taylor Jenkins - $3 Million
Coming in at number 19 is Taylor Jenkins, the current head coach of the Memphis Grizzlies. Taylor Jenkins had a previous career as an assistant coach and then signed a deal with Memphis where his pay is nearly $2 Million a year for the next four years.
18. Bill Fitch - $6 Million
One of the most well-known NBA coaches with a long career is Bill Fitch. He spent his pro coaching year as the head coach for the Cleveland Cavaliers, Boston Celtics, Houston Rockets, New Jersey Nets, and the Los Angeles Clippers. Bill Fitch agreed to several contracts over his career, with some as high as $150,000 a year before retiring in 1998.
17. Ime Udoka - $6 Million
Currently the head coach of the Boston Celtics, Ime Udoka is a non-American NBA coach, originally from Nigeria. As an NBA player for tee Portland Trail Blazers, Udoka earned an average of $2.3 Million with the Spurs until his coaching career began in 2012. He has been an assistant head coach for three other teams, before being offered the head coach position for the Boston Celtics in 2021. His current contract with the Celtics has an annual salary of $2 million.
16. Nick Nurse - $7 Million
The current head coach of the Toronto Raptors is Nick Nurse. He has a long career as a coach in the NBA, with several accolades and awards to mention. When he first joined the Raptors in 2013, he came on as an assistant coach but was promoted to head coach in 2018. His current contract with the Raptors is $8 million per season. His contract expires in 2024 and will be reevaluated at that time if he decides to stay.
15. Mike Budenholzer - $8 Million
Mike Budenholzer is currently the head coach for the Milwaukee Bucks and has held that position since 2018. He signed a new contract with the Bucks in 2021 for three years at almost $8 million each year. He was the head coach for the Atlanta Hawks from 2013- 2018, and left a contract that had a salary of $6.5 million annually when he was contracted to the Bucks.
14. Dwane Casey - $9 Million
Dwane Casey has a long career as both an assistant coach and now head coach in the NBA. He is currently the head coach for the Detroit Pistons, and has been since 2018. His current contract is a 5-year contact, averaging around $7 million each year. This contract will expire with the 2023-2024 season.
13. Monty Williams - $9 Million
Both a former player and now head coach of the Phoenix Suns, Monty Williams is one of the most well-known NBA coaches currently. He was a player in the NBA from 1994 to 2003 before retiring and moving his career to its next phase of coaching. In 2019, he was offered the head coach position with the Phoenix Suns, where he is still the head coach. His current contract is a multi-year contract where he is making approximately $7.5 million annually.
12. Tyronn Lue - $10 Million
For 11 years, Tyronn Lue was an NBA player, beginning with the Los Angeles Lakers, and working with several teams before retiring with the Orlando Magic. After his retirement from the NBA as a player, he decided to return as an assistant coach. beginning with the Boston Celtics. He has been the current head coach for the Los Angeles Clippers since 2020. His current contract is a multi-year contract that averages approximately 6. to $7 million each year. He also had one of the largest assistant coach salaries in NBA history, totaling $6.5 million for four years.
11. Tom Thibodeau - $12 Million
Although Tom Thibodeau only played basketball in college at Salem State College, he began his career as an NBA coach in 1989 with the Minnesota Timberwolves. He was offered the Head Coach position with the New York Knicks in 2020. He has been with the Knicks since that time and once earned his NBA coach of the year award with this team. His current contract with the Knicks is a 5-year contract at approximately $6.5 million annually. His previous contract with the Chicago Bulls was $4.3 million for the five years he served as head coach.
10. Erik Spoelstra - $14 Million
When you think of Miami Heat, you probably associate Coach Erik Spoelstra with the team. He held an assistant coach position with the Miami Heat until 2008 when he was offered the Head Coach position. He is considered one of the top coaches in the industry and has one of the longest records of head coach with one team. His current contract with the Miami Heat is a five-year contract with an annual salary average of $8.5 million.
9. Steve Kerr - $35 Million
You may know him from being on the court, but more recently you've seen him on the sidelines coaching the Golden State Warriors since 2014. He is in the top 10 of the richest NBA coaches of all time. His current contract with the Golden State Warriors is a five-year free agent contract of $25 million, with the salary increasing each year until the amount contracted is met.
8. Gregg Popovich - $40 Million
Like a handful of other NBA coaches, Gregg Popovich has had a long-term commitment to a single NBA team for the majority of his coaching career, and that is the San Antonio Spurs. He began his career as an assistant with the team for a few years before departing briefly to the Golden State Warriors as an assistant coach. He was invited back in 1996 to the San Antonia Spurs where he has remained the head coach for over 26 years. His contracts have only increased over the years, beginning with $1 million years ago. Today, the current contract is $11.5 million for each season.
7. Chuck Daly - $50 Million
During his coaching career, Chuck Daly was one of the most respected NBA coaches and was recognized for his achievements on several NBA teams that he held the head coach title. He began his NBA coaching career in 1979 as an assistant coach with the Philadelphia 76ers, and moved to be a head coach for the Cleveland Cavaliers, Detroit Pistons, New Jersey Nets, and finally Orlando Magic where he retired in 1999. In 1990, his contract with the Detroit Pistons was $650,000 annually, one of the highest salaries in the NBA. At the time of his retirement, Chuck Daly had an annual salary with the Orlando Magic of $5 million.
6. Phil Jackson - $50 Million
Phil Jackson's NBA career allowed him to cover all bases in the association, as a player, coach, and even an executive position until his retirement in 2017. Because he was the head coach of the Chicago Bulls during their winning streak in the NBA, he had an annual salary of $2.5 million, the highest in the NBA at that time. Phil Jackson's net worth increased substantially as he moved to be an executive of the Knicks. As the President of the team, he had a five-year contract for his position that was worth $60 million in total.
5. Doc Rivers - $60 Million
Both a player and now a coach, Doc Rivers has spent several decades in front of the camera and on the court in one capacity or the other. After coaching several NBA teams, he accepted his most recent head coach position with the Philadelphia 76ers in 2020. His current contract includes a five-year commitment of $40 million or $8 million annually for each season. In 2025, Rivers' contract will be up for review and will be a free agent.
4. Larry Brown - $70 Million
Coaching both college and then later in the NBA, Larry Brown has had an extensive coaching career, which is why he is one of the richest NBA coaches. One of his earliest contracts as an NBA coach was in 1988 for five years and #3.5 million with the San Antonio Spurs. His largest contract came with the New York Knicks at approximately $50.5 million for five years. This contract made him the highest-paid NBA coach. Although he is no longer a head coach in the NBA, he is an assistant coach currently with the University of Memphis. Over the course of his coaching career, it is estimated that he earned over $150 million with the NBA.
3. Steve Nash - $70 Million
One of the more recent coaches to take on an NBA team is Steve Nash. He has only been a head coach since 2020 for the Brooklyn Nets. His current coaching contract is worth $45 million with a five-year commitment. However, his significant net worth amounts to his time as an NBA player. He played a long career from 1996 until 2015, when he finally retired as a player. His beginning salary as a player was just over $900,000 and grew consistently to millions each year. He had his highest salaries with the Phoenix Suns at $12 million and $13 million for several years. His contract with the Lakers before retirement was $9,7 million, all of which contributed to his overall net worth and labeled him as one of the richest NBA coaches.
2. Jason Kidd - $73 Million
With his coaching career beginning in 2013, the majority of Jason Kidd's net worth is related to his time as an NBA player. He played from 1994 to 2013 before deciding to change course and become a coach. His contracts as a player brought in a total of $187 million during his time on the court. His highest contract was with the Dallas Mavericks at just over $21 million. He retired as a player from the New York Knicks with a $3 million salary. His assistant coach contract was only $1 million annually with the Brooklyn Nets. His contract with the Bucks was an average of $2 million each year, but his current contract with the Grizzlies is $7 million each season.
1. Pat Riley - $80 Million
Coming in at number one is Pat Riley with the highest net worth of all NBA coaches. He has worked in all areas of the NBA, as a player, a coach, and then an executive. His contracts with the Miami Heat alone as a coach were worth $40 million. A good chunk of Riley's net worth was generated from the numerous speaking engagements he took outside of coaching, where he made almost $50,000 for each appearance. He also has a trademark on the "three-peat" term through his personal enterprise, generating millions in royalties. As an executive of the Miami Heat, Riley generated a salary of $11 million and is still the active GM.
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Written by Dana Hanson
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