New Los Angeles Lakers head coach Frank Vogel already confirmed that the team had hired Jason Kidd as an assistant coach, despite the organization not announcing it themselves yet. And it appears that Kidd will be well-compensated for joining on.
According to Shams Charania of The Athletic, the Lakers are opening up their pocket books to bring on Kidd, further confirming just how much the front office wanted him on staff:
Jason Kidd’s contract with the Lakers made him the highest paid assistant coach in the NBA, sources with knowledge of the deal said.
Well first, that will do nothing to quiet all the speculation that Kidd is essentially a head coach in waiting, that’s for sure. It also explains (in part) why Kidd — who made an estimated $182 million in his NBA career without including his last two head coaching jobs — was willing to sign on for the relatively unglamorous and not particularly well-compensated (at least by NBA standards) role of assistant coach.
In all likelihood, the Lakers had to make Kidd the highest-paid assistant in the NBA if they really wanted him to come aboard Vogel’s staff, for financial reasons, and probably competitive ones as well.
Charania’s report doesn’t make it clear what the Lakers are paying Kidd, but it seems safe to guess that it’s somewhere in the range of what former head coaching candidate Tyronn Lue was making when the Cleveland Cavaliers made him the highest-paid assistant coach in the league with a four-year deal worth a reported $6.5 million.
The Cavs front office really wanted Lue on that bench behind David Blatt after interviewing both for their head coaching job, and we all know what happened next. We’ll see if history repeats itself with the Lakers, who similarly interviewed Kidd for the job before even approaching Vogel.
We still have no idea who will be joining Kidd and Miles Simon on Vogel’s bench, but if what the Lakers are paying Kidd is any indication — not necessarily a reliable assumption, but let’s roll with it for now — the team may have increased what they’re willing to spend on staff. For the NBA’s second-most valuable team, that’s a way to win on the margins and get around salary cap restraints. We’ll see if they’re similarly willing to pony up to get good assistant coaches to fill out the rest of Vogel’s staff, or in other auxiliary positions.