Monty Williams is an incredibly well-respected coach — Mike Krzyzewski asked him to be part of the Team USA staff — who did a solid job as coach of the Pelicans. He did get them to the playoffs despite Jrue Holiday and Ryan Anderson missing large parts of the season.
From the second New Orleans let him go, you could be sure his phone would be ringing from teams looking to offer him a job, most likely as a lead assistant.
Billy Donovan and the Oklahoma City Thunder are on the top of that list, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports.
Donovan has a targeted interest in several potential candidates, including ex-New Orleans Pelicans coach Monty Williams, Chicago Bulls assistant Andy Greer and Portland Trail Blazers assistant Nate Tibbetts, league sources said.
Another possibility could be the return of New York Knicks assistant Brian Keefe, league sources told Yahoo Sports. Keefe left ex-Thunder coach Scott Brooks’ Thunder staff to join Derek Fisher in New York a year ago. Keefe is well-regarded among Thunder management and players. Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook are among the players partial to Keefe.
Former Cavaliers and Lakers coach Mike Brown turned down a chance to interview for the staff, according to the report. Also, Donovan is keeping current Thunder assistants Mark Bryant and Darko Rajakovic on staff, and added former Alabama coach Anthony Grant as an assistant.
Donovan still needs a veteran NBA guy at his right hand, just to help him through the adjustments to the NBA game. It’s why David Blatt got Tyronn Lue to be next to him in Cleveland this year, while Steve Kerr pried Alvin Gentry away from the Clippers.
Williams would be a perfect fit, plus he has a relationship with Durant and Westbrook through Team USA. It’s a matter of fit and if the Thunder are willing to pay — Williams will not come cheaply.