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BY MIKE BALDWIN, Staff Writer, Modified: February 21, 2010 at 12:03 am •  Published: February 21, 2010
Denver coach George Karl, diagnosed with neck and throat cancer last week, recently received a one-year contract extension that will pay him $4.5 million next season. Does Karl think he’s worth that much?

"The market is always changing,” Karl told the Denver Post. "There have been times where coaches have been paid $6 (million), $7 (million), $8 million. We’ve had (Lakers coach) Phil Jackson and a few others go higher than that. But I think a coach is as valuable as a starter. If you had to say the value, that’s the way I can give you a value. A good coach is a good starter.

"Now, some starters make $10 million, some make $5 million, some starters make $2 million. But I think from a standpoint of basketball value, a good basketball systems is as valuable as maybe your fourth or fifth-best starter.”

Thunder coach Scott Brook’s salary hasn’t been reported but it’s believed he earns slightly more than $1.5 million which is less than all five Thunder starters and less than all but two players in the nine-man rotation — rookies Eric Maynor ($1.3 million) and Serge Ibaka ($1.1 million).

Highest paid NBA coaches

Coach,team, Salary

Phil Jackson, LA Lakers, $10.3 million

Larry Brown, Charlotte, $7 million

Don Nelson, Golden State, $6 million

Mike D’Antoni, New York, $6 million

Byron Scott, New Orleans, $5.5 million

Doc Rivers, Boston, $5.5 million

Note: Scott was fired earlier this season

Money matters on the bench

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