Spurs' Gregg Popovich Signs Historic $80 Million Deal, Becomes Highest-Paid NBA Coach

Photo: Instagram/Gregg Popovich

According to a report, Gregg Popovich, the head coach and president of basketball operations for the San Antonio Spurs, has agreed to the richest coaching contract in NBA history.

The team officially announced the new five-year deal, which will keep Popovich in San Antonio until the end of the 2027-28 season. Although the exact details were not disclosed, it is reported that Popovich will earn over $80 million during the course of the contract.

This surpasses the previous record contract of $78 million given to Monty Williams by the Detroit Pistons earlier in the offseason. At 74 years old, Popovich holds the dual distinction of being the oldest and longest-tenured coach in the league.

Photo: Instagram/Gregg Popovich

His association with the Spurs dates back to 1988 when he started as an assistant coach. After a brief stint with the Golden State Warriors, he returned to the Spurs in 1996 as their head coach and has remained there ever since.

Under his leadership, the Spurs have become the epitome of a successful NBA franchise. During Popovich's tenure, which spans 27 seasons, the Spurs established themselves as the model franchise in the league.

They achieved remarkable consistency, making the playoffs for 22 consecutive seasons from 1997 to 2019—an NBA record. Additionally, the team reached the NBA Finals six times and captured five championships across three different decades.

Their sustained success is evident from the fact that they only experienced six first-round exits during that period, making it to the Finals as many times as they were eliminated in the opening round. While the Spurs have only missed the playoffs five times under Popovich, they made the most of those instances, securing the top pick in the NBA draft twice during those seasons.

In the latest draft, they capitalized on their lottery appearance by selecting Victor Wembanyama, a highly sought-after 19-year-old French center. Popovich's coaching prowess is reflected in his impressive record.

In March 2022, he surpassed Don Nelson to become the winningest head coach in NBA history. With a career record of 1,366 wins and 761 losses, his winning percentage of .642 ranks second among coaches with at least 1,000 wins, trailing only Phil Jackson (.704) in that elite group.

Recognizing his achievements, Popovich has been named Coach of the Year three times (in 2003, 2012, and 2014), a distinction he shares with Don Nelson and Pat Riley. His five NBA titles as a coach tie him for the third-most in history, alongside Riley and John Kundla.

Only Red Auerbach (11 titles) and Phil Jackson (nine titles) have more championships to their names. In addition to his NBA success, Popovich also led Team USA to a gold medal at the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.

However, he has since stepped down from that role and will not be coaching the team in the upcoming 2024 Olympics in Paris. His successor for the national team is Steve Kerr, the head coach of the Golden State Warriors.

Earlier this year, it was announced that Popovich would be inducted into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame as part of the class of 2023. The enshrinement ceremony will take place on August 12, and Popovich will join his former point guard Tony Parker and former assistant coach Becky Hammon, as well as basketball icons Dwyane Wade, Dirk Nowitzki, and Pau Gasol, among others.

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Source: CBS Sports
 

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