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The Four Highest-Paid Coaches in the NBA

Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr reacts after a score against the Philadelphia 76ers during the third quarter at Wells Fargo Center.

On Friday, Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr received a two-year, $35 million contract extension. This makes Kerr the highest-paid coach in basketball, with an annual salary of $17.5 million. But, he is not the only one valued for their x’s and o’s. Here are the four highest-paid coaches in the NBA and why they are well compensated.

The Four Highest-Paid Coaches in the NBA

1. Steve Kerr

Kerr will go down as one of the most successful coaches in history. He is widely looked at as the coach who helped unleash Stephen Curry’s full potential. Along with this, he led a team that redefined how we look at the sport. Gone are the days of post-up bigs that do nothing else and guards that can’t space the floor. Barring you being a truly special talent, you have to be able to do a myriad of things on the court to last in the NBA.

Kerr’s impact on the game can’t be denied, but it seems this extension comes more from what he did and not what he’s doing. Right now, the Warriors are the 10th seed in the Western Conference, and Kerr is facing criticism for it. From questionable rotations to refusing to mix up the starting lineup, the championship coach has not been flawless. Whether this is just a “Thank You” from the office or a good show of faith is unknown. What is known is that Kerr is currently the highest-paid coach in the sport.

2. Gregg Popovich: The Old Guard

Gregg Popovich needs little introduction; the San Antonio Spurs are the juggernaut they are, largely thanks to the wizened coach. Popovich has a five-year $80 million contract and is also the team’s basketball operations president.

The Spurs were a bit lost after losing Kawhi Leonard via free agency. Desperate attempts to still contend with players like LaMarcus Aldridge and Demar DeRozan fell flat, so the front office cut their losses and tanked in hopes of a great prospect. And just like with David Robinson and Tim Duncan, a generational frontcourt prospect fell in their lap.

Victor Wembanyama has proven he is a jaw-dropping talent and is a franchise building block any general manager would kill for. The Spurs feel like Pop is the man to steady the ship and get the Spurs back into contending. It will take some smart drafting and free-agency acquisitions to get this team in the right direction, but the Hall of Fame coach seems up for the task.

3. Erik Spoelstra: Like Clockwork

Death, taxes, and the Miami Heat being in the thick of the playoffs are three certain things. Despite not being the most impressive team on paper, Erik Spoelstra has done a masterful job at roster construction and player development.

Apart from a brief dry spell after LeBron James skipped town and an occasional dud season, the Heat has been a well-oiled machine no matter what. Spoelstra is a significant reason why this keeps happening. Players like Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo buy into his disciplined defensive style, and role players tend to step up at the brightest moments thanks to Spoelstra’s ability to coach and develop.

The Heat are only the seventh seed in the Eastern Conference right now, but this roster has proven they can turn it up a notch when April and May roll around. Other teams in the East have stepped up and upgraded, but you can’t forget about a team and coach that has made two NBA Finals and one Conference Finals run in the last four years.

4. Monty Williams: Coaching Disaster

The Detroit Pistons, and by extension, Monty Williams, have been a major disappointment this season. Williams signed a six-year $78.5 million contract in the offseason and has not shown his worth. The Piston’s roster is not talented and does not mesh well, but that is not the sole reason why they went on a 28-game losing streak.

Watch Detroit for over 20 minutes, and they are clearly badly drilled. Missed reads, bad defensive rotations, looking lost on offense, these things don’t happen just because you are a young team. Combine this with questionable rotations, and many Piston faithful call for Williams’ head. It is doubtful he will lose his job this season. Detroit paid him too much just to be a one-year rental. But Williams will likely be looking for a new job if this incompetence continues.

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