NBA Assistant Coach Salary: Highest to Lowest

NBA Assistant Coaches’ role in the team is vital. However, not all assistant coaches are created the same.

However, we know that head coaches earn at least $2 million. So, how much do their assistant coaches make on average?

According to Glassdoor, NBA Assistant Coaches earn an average of $48,346 annually. However, it can also range from $32,000 to $73,000. The previous highest-paid NBA Assistant Coach was Jason Kidd, after signing an undisclosed amount with the Los Angeles Lakers.

Now let us look closer at how much NBA Assistant Coaches earn.

What is the Average NBA Assistant Coach’s Salary?

Each NBA Team can have multiple assistant coaches on its payroll, but only three of them can sit beside the head coach on the bench during a game, as mentioned in the NBA rulebook.

This implies that not every assistant coach is equal, which means their salaries will vary depending on their roles and skills.

Based on the data from Glassdoor, NBA Assistant coaches can earn an annual salary of $48,346, which is lower than the US Average Salary of $74,738 in 2021.

However, despite earning relatively less than other full-time employees, the potential to rise through the ranks and get a head coaching job making millions is a possibility.

Highest Paid NBA Assistant Coaches

LA Clippers bench Dec 14, 2013
LA Clippers bench Dec 14, 2013 by
Keith Allison

According to the New York Times, NBA Assistant Coaches can make $100,000 to upwards of $1 million, depending on their experience.

This is because assistant coaches usually spend years and even decades in the same position before getting an offer to be the head coach.

Other times, NBA Assistant Coaches are previous NBA players who spent the most time talking to the coaches and watching the game from the bench, making them better suited for a coaching job.

However, unlike NBA players whose contracts are publicly available, other NBA jobs’ salaries are not as readily available.

But there are still reports coming out regarding the highest-paid personnel. Here are two of the previously known highest-paid NBA Assistant Coaches in the NBA.

1. Jason Kidd (Undisclosed)

The highest contract ever given to an NBA Assistant Coach in the game’s history reportedly belongs to Jason Kidd.

In 2019, after holding the head coaching position for the Brooklyn Nets (2013-14) and the Milwaukee Bucks (2014-18), he agreed to be one of the assistant coaches for the Los Angeles Lakers.

This deal became the headlines of sporting news channels because he reportedly signed the biggest contract for an assistant coach in the history of the NBA.

Though his actual salary was never disclosed to the public, the record of being the highest-paid NBA assistant coach belonged to him, which was previously held by Tyronn Lue.

During his first season as the assistant coach for the Lakers, they won the NBA Championship, with LeBron James and Anthony Davis leading the charge and Frank Vogel as the Head Coach.

As a player, he played for 19 seasons and has made a name for himself worthy of getting inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame.

This is one of the reasons why some NBA owners believe he is fit to be a coach and deserves a large chunk of NBA money. He became the head coach of the Dallas Mavericks in 2021.

2. Tyronn Lue (4 years, $6.5 million)

After his stint as the assistant coach for the Boston Celtics and Los Angeles Clippers, Tyronn Lue was signed by the Cleveland Cavaliers as one of David Blatt’s assistant coaches in 2014.

His 4-year, $6.5 million salary, with $1.75 and $2 million on the final two years of his contract, became the highest contract for any NBA assistant coach in NBA history at that time.

Fortunately, he was promoted to head coach after Blatt was surprisingly fired. They would go on to win the historic first championship for the Cleveland Cavaliers that season after coming back from a 3-1 deficit against the heavily-favored Golden State Warriors.

3. Lawrence Frank (6 years, $6 million)

During the 2013 NBA Off-Season, Lawrence Frank became the highest-paid NBA Assistant Coach, earning $6 million in 6 years.

He was recruited by then-Brooklyn Nets Head Coach Jason Kidd to be in charge of the defensive end of the floor. It became a switch in the position since Frank used to coach Kidd during his playing years with the Nets in the 2000s.

Lowest Paid NBA Assistant Coaches

According to sources, the lowest-paid assistant coaches can earn as low as $32,000 per year. Though this figure is difficult to validate, we can assume that they earn less than the US average wage.

Other factors also affect assistant coaches’ wages, like where they work. Usually, New York and California coaches earn more than in other states. Experience is another factor required to earn higher.

Another consideration for assistant coaches’ salaries is the number of coaches on a team.

While there is no specified maximum amount teams can pay to their coaching staff, they still want to maximize the benefit they can get.

What do NBA Assistant Coaches do?

1. Provide support to the head coach

One of the assistant coaches’ primary roles and responsibilities is to support the head coach and make his life easier.

Assistant coaches can complement the coach’s weaknesses and provide the needed boost to guide the players to improve in certain areas of their games.

2. Scout the next opponents

Keeping an eye on the next opponent is crucial to winning a ball game.

Assistant coaches must know the strengths and weaknesses of the opposing team and strategize how to counter their offenses while also finding gaps to penetrate their defenses.

3. Keep statistics during games

Another essential responsibility of assistant coaches is to keep tabs on what is happening during the game.

They must record the individual statistics of each player to be used during timeouts and half times. Some may even need to find key strengths and weaknesses to make adjustments during the game.

4. Recruiting for the team

Scouting and recruiting players for the team is another important role of assistant coaches. They need to have an eye for details and talents to find players who can fit into the coaching system in the NBA.

How to Become an NBA Assistant Coach

Photo by Keith Allison

1. Earn a bachelor’s degree

Similar to NBA Head Coaches and other positions in an NBA Team, having a college degree is advantageous to prospective assistant coaches.

2. Play the game professionally

The NBA launched the Assistant Coaches Program in 1988 to help retired players return to the basketball court as part of the coaching staff.

This program helped more than 200 former players land basketball roles leading to a coaching career.

3. Climb the ranks

For some who want to get an assistant coaching gig, starting from a rank-and-file position can be the boost they need to climb the ladder toward coaching.

A prime example of a coach who climbed the ladder is Miami Heat Head Coach Erik Spoelstra, who started as a video coordinator before getting discovered by Pat Riley, and soon became an assistant coach.

How Many Assistant Coaches Are on Each NBA Team?

The number of assistant coaches on each NBA team depends on the organization. It can be as many as 11 or as few as four. Here is a list of assistant coaches on each NBA Team before the 2022-23 NBA Season.

The teams with 11 assistant coaches are the Detroit Pistons and the Utah Jass. At the same time, the teams with only four assistant coaches are the Cleveland Cavaliers, New York Knicks, and the Oklahoma City Thunder.

TeamNo. of Assistant Coaches
1. Atlanta Hawks5
2. Boston Celtics6
3. Brooklyn Nets8
4. Charlotte Hornets7
5. Chicago Bulls6
6. Cleveland Cavaliers4
7. Dallas Mavericks6
8. Denver Nuggets8
9. Detroit Pistons11
10. Golden State Warriors7
11. Houston Rockets5
12. Indiana Pacers7
13. Los Angeles Clippers9
14. Los Angeles Lakers6
15. Memphis Grizzlies7
16. Miami Heat6
17. Milwaukee Bucks6
18. Minnesota Timberwolves5
19. New Orleans Pelicans5
20. New York Knicks4
21. Oklahoma City Thunder4
22. Orlando Magic7
23. Philadelphia 76ers8
24. Phoenix Suns8
25. Portland Trail Blazers6
26. Sacramento Kings6
27. San Antonio Spurs5
28. Toronto Raptors7
29. Utah Jazz11
30. Washington Wizards7


Assistant coaches can wear different hats while serving as the right-hand man of the head coach. Though they are earning significantly less than the main man on the bench, he still has the opportunity to improve and gain enough experience to be the next great head coach.

However, the path toward head coaching is not smooth. There are currently 197 assistant coaches in the league of 30 teams. Some even had previous head coaching experience before getting fired or demoted.

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