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Avery Johnson Could Make More Money

Eddie Sefko of the Dallas Morning News has sources saying that there is not, in fact, friction between Johnson and the team, and that he will honor his existing contract without insisting on a raise he could probably get. Sefko explains:

Johnson, 41, is a bargain by NBA coaching standards. He led the Mavericks to their first appearance in the NBA Finals in his first full season on the job. His career record is 76-24, including 60-22 last season.

However, every other coach in the Southwest Division earns more than Johnson, topped by San Antonio's Gregg Popovich, whose salary is about $7 million. It's notable that Popovich, Memphis' Mike Fratello and Houston's Jeff Van Gundy all have at least 10 years of head coaching experience. New Orleans' Byron Scott has six years as a head coach, including two trips to the NBA Finals when he coached New Jersey.

Several coaches have renegotiated contracts this summer or are in negotiations to do so, including Mike Dunleavy of the Los Angeles Clippers and Eddie Jordan of Washington. Neither got past the second round of the playoffs last season. Jordan signed a three-year extension worth $12 million. Dunleavy reportedly is seeking an extension worth $7 million per season.

Don Nelson, who coached the Mavericks before giving way to Johnson in March 2005, earned $5.1 million per season.

Johnson originally signed a three-year contract that included a fourth season that became guaranteed when the team reached the NBA Finals last season. Because he was a rookie coach, Johnson agreed to a contract that was equal to the league average of $2.5 million per season, although the fourth year is substantially higher.