Forbes Magazine released an article this week entitled "The Highest-Paid Coaches in U.S. Sports." Eight of the first nine are all from the NFL, with the lone exception being the Celtics Doc Rivers. At $7 million per season, Rivers is the highest salaried coach in the NBA (the Spurs Greg Popovich is second at $6 million a year). In terms of experience and titles, Popovich is obviously the most deserving of being the top earner (although Phil Jackson would have a good argument if he decided to return). After that it gets fairly difficult to make a case for anyone else to be paid more than Doc.
There are only 6 coaches in the league with 10+ years experience leading a team. Rivers (13), Popovich (16), George Karl (24), Rick Adelman (21), Mike D'Antoni (10), and Rick Carlisle (10). Karl has had a lot of success in Denver (and Seattle in the mid '90s), but he's never won a title. Adelman is in the same boat (had very good teams in Sacramento in the early 2000's and Portland in the early '90s) as Karl, however he hasn't even been to the playoffs in 4 years. Carlisle won it all with Dallas in 2011, but his resume doesn't really include anything more than Doc's. D'Antoni isn't even worth making an argument.
Beyond those guys the next most deserving may actually be the Bulls Tom Thibodeau, who has just two seasons under his belt as a head coach. So while Popovich is probably due for a raise, I don't have any issue with Rivers making what he does.
Follow Mark on twitter @LucidSportsFan Mark Van Deusen 5/23/2013 01:47:00 PM Tweet Edit