According to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports, newly hired Toronto Raptors assistant coach P.J. Carlesimo will make the princely sum of $650,000, along with perks, next season. It does look like a lot of money for an assistant coach, but if Carlesimo can have any significant effect on Toronto’s porous defense, he will be well worth every penny of that salary.
After seeing things like Boston becoming a defensive juggernaut after bringing Tom Thibodeau aboard and how much Cleveland improved offensively after Cavaliers head coach handed over control of the offense to assistant coach John Kuester before the 2008-09 season (assistant coach Mike Malone ran the offense for Brown this season), I wouldn’t be surprised to see more and more teams acknowledge the value of having really good assistant coaches and giving them real responsibility.
The way a team’s offense and defense works is interconnected, but coaching defense can require a very different set of skills than coaching offense does. If the Raptors have $4.9 million for Marcus Banks next year, they should be able to spare a measly 650k to a guy who might be able to really help their defense.