Magic's Van Gundy Looking at Possible $1 Million Bonus
The bonus is part of the contract extension he signed last summer, which carries him through the 2010-11 season.
According to two NBA sources familiar with league contracts, Van Gundy's contract is filled with incentives that pay him based on how far the Magic advance in the playoffs.
When the Magic beat the Cleveland Cavaliers in the Eastern finals and advanced to the NBA Finals a year ago, he made $1 million, in addition to his base salary, estimated at $4 million annually.
The incentive-based contracts are common among NBA head coaches, yet the amounts paid fluctuate. Celtics coach Doc Rivers, whose base salary is $5.5 million, also would receive a sizable bonus if his team advances to the NBA Finals, but his incentive to reach the Finals is less than Van Gundy's.
Van Gundy declined to comment Wednesday on his contract incentives, hoping to keep the focus on Game 3, which will be played Saturday night in Boston.
"Teams pay for performance,'' said one NBA executive who is aware of the contracts. "Coaches should be rewarded for success.''
Head coaches, though, aren't the only ones looking at financial incentives to win. Although player salaries are based on the NBA's 82-game regular season, and salary cap rules prevent players from lucrative bonuses, the players do share in a league playoff pool that will reach an all-time high of $12 million this year.
Whichever team -- Boston or Orlando -- reaches the Finals will be guaranteed $1.4 million to be split among the players and assistant coaches. The team that wins the NBA Finals will receive $2.1 million to split.
Every team that reached the playoffs was guaranteed a split of $179,092. Teams that advanced into the second round split $213,095. The Magic, Celtics, Lakers and Suns, all in the conference finals, were guaranteed a split of $352,137.
Regular-season records also count for additional money with the players. Cleveland, with the best regular-season record, received $346,105, in addition to their playoff share. The Magic, with the second-best record in the East, received $243,411.
"Playoffs are where the teams make their money,'' said another NBA executive. "Everyone gets their share.''