To the victors go the spoils. Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN is reporting that the Denver Nuggets and head coach Michael Malone have reached an agreement on a “lucrative contract extension” that puts him amongst the league’s highest-paid coaches. No details have yet emerged so we don’t know how long the deal is for or at what price, but honestly to keep the band together there really isn’t a price too high for Malone. After being one of the lower-paid coaches in the league for many years, winning a title brought some well-deserved gold to Malone’s wallet as well as his mantle.

So what could his deal be worth? Greg Popovich is earning $16 million this year off a 5 year / $80 million deal from the Spurs but serves as San Antonio’s President of Basketball Operations as well as its head coach. Monty Williams is getting about $13 million from a 6 year / $78.5 million deal to coach the Detroit Pistons, and after that it’s Steve Kerr and Eric Spoelstra with $9.5 million and $8.5 million a year respectively.

The two leaders in salary are both in unique cases, with Pop being a living legend who runs the whole team and Monty Williams needed the salary and long contract to hitch his wagon to the young Pistons team. In Malone’s case, I would expect $8 million  annually to make him a top-5 earner in the league as a floor for the deal, but regardless it’s good to see that the Nuggets learned their lesson from having prior front office members fly the coop for more money elsewhere. Malone has the rapport with his stars, the coaching acumen to go toe-to-toe with the league’s best and now the title to prove his worth.

And now Coach Malone should be in Denver for a very long time as the Nuggets attempt to turn a championship team into a dynasty. Congratulations to Malone and his family on a well-deserved raise.