If you are an NBA fanatic, you have probably wondered about the “take-home” salary of the men acting behind the scene in the sport. Although the NBA doesn’t precisely disclose the assistant coaches’ salaries, you can already guess its price since the league is high-paying.
Moreover, in the NBA, you can refer to the assistant coaches as the scout preparers, lead workout specialists, and behind-the-scenes direct player supporters. This line of work is a 24/7 job.
It is pretty clear that assistant coaches in NBA play a vital role, so how much do they earn? In the course of this post, you will discover the highest, lowest, and average “take-home” salary of assistant coaches in the NBA. Furthermore, we will highlight what they do, why they earn as much as they do and their career achievements.
NBA Assistant Coach Salary
The salary of assistant coaches in the NBA largely varies between teams, coaching experience, and state. In the US, some states have a high average salary payment for their assistant coaches. Sometimes, depending on the role the assistant coach performs, the salary rate might differ.
According to a 2021 survey, the average “take-home” salary of NBA assistant coaches in a year reaches about $39,226. And this slightly summarises the sum to mean they make close to $18.86 every hour. However, this is only an average compiled figure of NBA assistant coaches 2021 salary.
Meanwhile, the higher-ranking NBA assistant coaches can earn high amounts yearly, looking at the much broader spectrum. This depends on their coaching experience in the field and how well they perform their duties. The higher-ranked assistant coaches in the NBA can earn as high as $61,000 every year if they perform at a superb level.
Furthermore, the assistant coaches in the NBA with a lower experience level can earn a pretty low amount. For instance, the lower (or least ranking) NBA assistant coaches can earn about $25,000 every year.
Generally, the duties of the assistant coaches in the NBA are much similar to the head coaches. They all have the responsibility of guiding and training basketball players until they have polished their athletic skills with a great sense of discipline and sportsmanship in the team.
Who is the Highest Paid Assistant Coach in the NBA?
Many assistant coaches sign contracts that aren’t made public, and their exact figures remain relatively unknown. However, sources have come to a consensus that the highest-paid assistant coach is Jason Kidd.
LA Lakers made the news in 2019 for signing the most significant contract for an assistant coach ever in the NBA. Even though the exact numbers aren’t public, the deal was bigger than the previous highest-paid assistant coach in the NBA – Tyronn Lue, who had a 4-year/$6.5 million contract. So, it’s safe to say that Jason Kidd’s deal is a seven-figure one that placed him as the highest assistant coach in NBA history.
Jason Kidd played the point guard position as a player and ended his career in 2013 with the New York Knicks. He completed his playing career as one of the greatest point guards of all-time in the NBA, earning induction to the Basketball Hall of Fame. Since 2013 he has been a coach, starting as the head coach of the Brooklyn Nets.
He came into LA Lakers as an assistant coach in 2019 after previously being the head coach for the Milwaukee Bucks. This is probably one of the reasons for his high pay, and he also landed the job with Kobe Bryant’s help. Under his coaching tenure, LA Lakers won an NBA championship with Anthony Davis and LeBron James during the 2019-2020 season.
Note: In 2021, Jason Kidd became the head coach of the Dallas Mavericks.
Also Read: NBA Coach Salary 2021
Who is the Lowest Paid Assistant Coach in the NBA?
There is no exact data about who the lowest paid assistant coach in the NBA is. However, as per estimates, the assistant coach salary list ranked by cities shows that the lowest is Detroit in Michigan. The team that plays out of Detroit, Michigan is the Detroit Pistons which has four assistant coaches – Jerome Allen, Rex Kalamian, Bill Bayno, and Tim Grhurich.
Estimates place the value of coaches with teams based in Detroit, Michigan, as $39,000 yearly. This low pay may be mainly due to the lack of experience of the assistant coaches in training NBA clubs. A quick brush through their careers shows that they only have experience coaching college basketball except for Rex Kalamian which has had previous coaching terms with the LA Clippers, Sacramento Kings, etc.
Also, another factor that may be contributing to their assistant coaches’ low pay is the team’s performance in recent times. In the last 5 five years, Detroit Pistons have failed to qualify for the playoffs. Save for the 2018-2019 season, where they lost in the first round. The teams with good performances and championships usually have more money to spend on their talent and coaches.
What Does an NBA Assistant Coach Do
There’s a misconception about an assistant basketball coach’s duties, which could vary depending on the team and their needs. The general responsibilities of an assistant basketball coach include:
Recruiting For the Team
One of the most important duties for an assistant or head coach is recruiting new talent. There is almost no assistant coach job description where it isn’t outlined that they’re to scout for potential players and assist in recruitment. Where head coaches typically focus more on training the players, assistant players are always on the lookout for new players joining their team and improving their overall ability.
Assistant coaches facilitate and build relationships needed to bring these players to their teams. Since head coaches might not have a lot of time maintaining these relationships, the duties will typically fall to the assistant coach. During the recruitment process, assistant coaches will also handle a large chunk of the paperwork, travel logistics, record keeping, and other administrative duties.
At any point in time, assistant coaches represent a reminder to the players of their expectations in the team. They should always be present at every team practice and event to display the proper tone and behavior of the club. This also makes them easily accessible by any of the players in times of need.
Assistant coaches may even use other means of communication to keep in touch with their players, such as social networks, especially in the advent of the pandemic. Assistant coaches must constantly be in contact with the players to monitor their activities. During recruitments, assistant coaches also have to keep in touch with the players’ parents throughout and after the signing process.
While the head coaches prepare for upcoming games, assistant coaches assist in whatever capacity and to what extent they want. Sometimes this includes player evaluations, analyzing opposing teams, offense, and defense. Since most NBA teams have more than one assistant coach, they can divide the entire approach amongst the assistant coaches for better efficiency.
Even though coaches help prepare strategy, opposing methods, and overall gameplay, the final moves, and plans are usually the head coach’s decision. Other essential parts of pre-game preparation include travel, meals, and other responsibilities.
Reviewing Previous Games and Moves
Checking previous games to see where the team made mistakes and identifying areas for improvement can significantly improve a team’s performance. Assistant basketball coaches can review videos of their team’s old games and advise on potential areas of concern to the head coach.
This applies to practice sessions too. Even though practice sessions aren’t recorded, assistant coaches can attend the sessions to take notes and identify areas that may need improvements. Assistant coaches are the best resource for the head coach to gather information about the team. This is why it is usually advantageous to have multiple assistant coaches, as the more eyes, the better.
Factors that Influence the Salary of an NBA Assistant Coach
Here are some common factors that could determine the salary of an NBA assistant coach.
Coaches that have previously worked in other NBA teams are usually more valued than others who only have experience in college basketball or no experience at all.
If a coach has proven his ability to deliver results in every position they’ve been in, they are priced higher than other players. The consistent skill to bring out the best in teams is a critical quality that can make many NBA teams pay top dollar for an assistant coach.
The level of education and knowledge a coach knows about basketball can decide their pay. Coaches with a high level of expertise or education in the field are valued higher than others.
There isn’t much information out there about the pay structure of assistant coaches because of contract clauses and other similar constraints. However, you will typically find that the highest-paid assistant coaches have many skills, experience, and education. Many times the highest-paid assistant coaches are in some of the best NBA teams because of their value.