When dealing with head coaching contracts these days, the key number to look for isn’t the number of years that he signs for.
It’s the buyout.
Rare is the case when a coach actually lives out the entirety of his contract. Usually, he leaves for a better job or ends up getting fired, which is why that buyout number becomes so important. How expensive will it be to make a change?
Fred Hoiberg is a perfect example. He signed a 10-year, $20 million contract extension with Iowa State in March, but it wasn’t until this week that we found out the numbers surrounding his contract. Hoiberg has a $2 million buyout if he leaves Ames, IA, for another school, which is a number big enough that it should keep Hoiberg a Cyclone for a long, long time. That’s a lot of money for a school — or a coach — to pony up.
But Hoiberg’s buyout if he leaves for an NBA job is just $500,000, which is significant for two reasons: A) Many people believe that Hoiberg’s next destination is going to be the NBA, and B) That kind of money is pocket change for an NBA franchise. From ESPN.com’s Myron Medcalf:
During our conversation in Ames a few months ago, he mentioned that he initially thought he’d begin his career in the NBA.
And I honestly believe that’s his next step. The buyout might deter college teams, but the NBA — he was an executive with the Minnesota Timberwolves after he retired in 2006 due to a heart condition — could be his final destination.
I think Hoiberg is one of the top young head coaches in America. He’s led the Cyclones to consecutive NCAA tournament appearances. And he’s enhanced the program’s recruiting pool.
But he’s an NBA coach or executive.
Bottom-line: Hoiberg isn’t leaving Iowa State for another college. That $2 million buyout could be $2, and I don’t think it would matter. He’s was born and raised in Ames. He was a Cyclone fan growing up and played his college ball there. His family is in the area. There’s a reason he’s called ‘The Mayor’.
If Duke or North Carolina came calling, that may be a different story.
But two trips to the NCAA tournament at Iowa State isn’t going to get you a job with one of the bluebloods.
For a guy that’s played in the NBA and has spent time as an executive in the NBA, that may be enough to get him some consideration for a job at that level.
You can find Rob on twitter @RobDauster.