Should the Owners Treat Players Like Coaches?

One could argue that the coaches market in the NBA is a mess. When we dig into the numbers though the truth is that the uncapped crazy owners market is a sign of how to reign in owners’ costs. When we look over the coaches data it seems like the owners don’t seem to have any clue what they’re doing. However, when we look at the trends of the coaches as a whole it seems like maybe the owners are learning.

Using the amazing coach data collected by Michael ‘wiLQ’ Wilczynski over at Weak Side Awareness we can break down the owners stupidity and intelligence.

The Owners’ Stupidity

Since the 2006 Season:

  • The estimated cost for money owed to fired coaches from 2006 to 2011 is $100 Million
  • An estimated $21.9 Million was owed to fired coaches in the 2010-2011 season
  • 29 Coaches have been fired and 1 has “resigned” (Jerry Sloan)
  • 10 of said fired coaches have gone on to coach on other teams (with Eddie Jordan being fired in his second endeavor)
  • 19 teams have fired a coach
  • 9 teams have fired multiple coaches

The coaches market seems troubling. There’s crazy movement. Salaries are uncapped and this seems to have bad implications. With an estimated salary of around $88 million to active coaches last season to have almost $22 million to fired coaches seems troubling. After all if this were the players and the same ratio were true then the owners would be on the hook for almost $500 million.All of the problems that we’re told would exist in a players market without rules exist in the coaches market. That’s bad right? Not so fast!

The Owners’ Intelligence

Season Salaries Fired Salaries Total Ave Contract Length
2005-2006** $115.60 $40.60 $156.2 3.7
2006-2007** $117.90 $37.40 $155.3 3.5
2007-2008** $114.50 $32.70 $147.2 3.4
2008-2009 $105.60 $17.50 $123.1 2.7
2009-2010 $96.50 $23.70 $120.2 2.9
2010-2011 $86.90 $21.90 $108.8 2.7

** Includes fired contracts from previous CBA

Surprisingly things have changed for the better in terms of coaching salaries. Even including all the insane money wasted on fired coaches the owners have cut coach costs from 2006 significantly. The average coach contract length has only gone down. In fact in 2011 two amazing things were true:

  • Only one coach (Doc Rivers) had a contract length of five years or longer
  • Only one coach was fired two coaches were fired! (Thanks wiLQ!)(Jim O’Brien, Kurt Rambis)

With all of the speculation about the crazy things the owners would do in an uncapped and free market for the players people may want to look at the coaches. The data doesn’t seem to support that adding rules will help competitive balance. Looking at the coaches though it may be that removing rules improves costs.
-Dre (@NerdNumbers)

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