Tuesday October 3, 2023

Silver: Record Deal For Pistons Coach Reflects Market Realities

  • Unprecedented Williams contract amplifies concerns small-market franchises could miss out on top coaching talent.
  • Nuggets’ first-ever NBA Finals trip sheds new spotlight on ongoing Altitude-Comcast dispute.
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October 3, 2023 | Podcast
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NBA commissioner Adam Silver has acknowledged that as far as coaching salaries are concerned, it’s open season.

Speaking before Game 1 of the NBA Finals Thursday in Denver, Silver said Monty Williams’ six-year, $78.5 million contract with the Detroit Pistons reflected the league’s market reality: Coaches’ compensation isn’t collectively bargained and governed like it is for players.

Williams’ deal — signed this week after the 2022 Coach of the Year was fired by Phoenix last month — is the largest ever for an NBA coach and reportedly could reach $100 million with options and incentives included. 

The pact immediately amplified concerns that smaller-market clubs could lose out in future bidding wars for top coaching talent.

“We’re able to negotiate collectively with the players because they choose to negotiate as a union,” Silver said. “The coaches haven’t made that election … teams compete individually, and it’s where the marketplace takes us.”

Altitude Dispute ‘Terrible’

As he watches the Denver Nuggets play in their first NBA Finals, Silver is also dealing with the ongoing dispute between Comcast and Altitude, the Stan Kroenke-owned regional sports network that airs games for his Nuggets and Colorado Avalanche. 

Denver-area Comcast customers have been unable to watch the two teams’ games since 2019 —  playing out in microcosm the implosion of the traditional RSN business model, as seen elsewhere in Major League Baseball’s battle with Diamond Sports Group.

“It’s a terrible situation,” Silver said. “It makes no sense. It’s on us to fix it.”

The commissioner also said a ruling on suspended Memphis Grizzlies guard Ja Morant will be announced after the NBA Finals as a league investigation “uncovered a fair amount of additional information.”

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