Daily Archives: February 13, 2016

‘If you want me to come, you have to invest…’

More evidence that if you distort the compensation you pay in the labor market, the money will just flow elsewhere:

The emergence of such princely salaries for non-head coaches at the pro and collegiate levels coincides with the vast sums flowing to sports in recent years. The N.C.A.A. men’s basketball tournament, for example, has taken in $740 million a year in TV revenue since 2011, up from $500 million a year from 2001-10, and the other major sports have seen similar rises.

… The lucrative assistant coaching market helps explain why Steve Kauffman of Kauffman Sports Management Group in Malibu, Calif., who was Payne’s agent as a player, has shifted his agency’s specialization to coaches and front-office personnel. But another factor in the agency’s shift, and in coach salary inflation, is, ironically, the player salary cap in the N.B.A.

N.B.A. teams must limit what they pay players, but there is no cap for everything else. Thus, teams can pay assistant coaches as much as they want, and have as many as they want. Mr. Kauffman pointed to the Charlotte Hornets, where his clients are the head coach, Steve Clifford, and three of the Hornets’ six assistant coaches, including the Hall of Famer Patrick Ewing. In another era, the bench would not be the place for such a star, but with salaries averaging about $800,000 for top assistants, it’s a good place to be.

“It might seem like a lot to have six or seven assistants for a team of 12 guys, but players can expect personal attention these days,” said Mr. Kauffman, noting that paying a six-figure salary for an assistant to help protect a billion-dollar investment — which a sports team often is these days — is not a lot.

He said that last year the Hornets hired the former all-star shooter Mark Price, now the coach at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, primarily to help Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, a star who makes $13 million a year, reform his jump shot. “It has made the market for assistant coaches who have a reputation all the more lucrative.”

This is what ownership means when it says it doesn’t have the resources to compensate players for their fair market value.  It’s not that the money isn’t there.  It’s that they don’t want to spend it that way.

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