After A Brief Dethroning, Gregg Popovich Is Once Again The NBA’s Highest-Paid Coach Thanks To Monster New Spurs Contract


A little over a month ago, the New Orleans Pelicans signed Monty Williams to a six-year, $78.5 million deal. The contract made Williams the highest-paid coach in the NBA, with an average annual salary of just over $13 million. Williams held the honor of highest-paid coach for exactly 36 days — the San Antonio Spurs just put Gregg Popovich back on top.

Popovich and the Spurs agreed to a five-year deal worth more than $80 million. Popovich will earn more than $16 million per season as he guides an exciting young Spurs team that features No. 1 draft pick Victor Wembanyama.

The 74-year-old Popovich is the winningest coach in NBA history. Headed into the 2023-24 season, he’s amassed a career record of 1,366 wins against 761 losses. His 170 playoff victories are also third all-time, behind only Phil Jackson (229) and Pat Riley (171). If Wembanyama and the other young Spurs live up to the hype, Popovich will easily pass Riley on the list. Unseating Jackson will be a taller order, but Popovich could at least make it interesting.

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On the other hand, Popovich may decide to retire from coaching before the contract is up. He’d be 79 years old in the final season, and the rigors of travel and developing a young team might finally take their toll. Popovich is also the team’s president of basketball operations, so he could still earn all the money from his contract while only serving in that role.

For now, Popovich will look to return the Spurs to the franchise’s former glory. The team won five championships between 1999 and 2014 and had a stretch of 22 straight seasons where they reached the playoffs. However, they’ve missed the postseason for the past four years.

Last season, the Spurs finished 22-60, the team’s worst winning percentage since Popovich took over as interim coach during the 1996-97 season. The Spurs ended up with the second-worst record in the league but won the NBA Draft Lottery to secure Wembanyama.

Even though they didn’t win a lot, Popovich spoke at length about the character of his team. He said last season was one of his “more enjoyable years” because he could see the growth of his players.

With the roster the Spurs have put together, they can certainly contend for a playoff spot. And if those players keep improving, Popovich may in fact add another title or two before he finally calls it quits.

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