Monty Williams, currently busy as an assistant coach with the Philadelphia 76ers, has agreed to terms to become the new head coach of the Phoenix Suns.
Phoenix announced the deal on Friday, landing their top target.
“I am thrilled to welcome Monty Williams to the Suns family as our next head coach,” Suns GM James Jones said in a statement. “Monty brings a wealth of NBA experience, both as a coach and former player, in addition to being a high-character individual who will infuse basketball wisdom and life lessons into our locker room. Monty is well respected for his coaching pedigree, leadership and commitment to the community, all of which make him the ideal person to lead our team moving forward.”
Williams will stay working with the 76ers through the end of their playoff run before turning his focus to Phoenix. He reportedly has a five-year contract in Phoenix.
Williams replaces Igor Kokoskov, who was with the Suns for just one season. The Suns are notorious for coach and front office turnover — and shaky decision making — under meddling owner Robert Sarver. While the Suns are preaching how Saver is going to step back and let the basketball people make basketball decisions, around the league the reactions to that are variations of “I’ll believe it when I see it.”
A former NBA player himself, Williams spent five years as the head coach in New Orleans during the Chris Paul era, transitioning into the Anthony Davis era. It a job where he was hired for Jeff Bower, the new guy at the top of the Phoenix Suns basketball operations team. Williams is incredibly well respected around the NBA, well liked by players, and he is good at player development, something the Suns need to take steps forward.
The Suns have potential with a young core built around Devin Booker, Deandre Ayton, and now Kelly Oubre Jr. They need a point guard and a lot more talent, but there is the potential. If they stick with a plan for once.
Williams was a frontrunner for the Lakers head coaching job, but the market has likely pushed GM Rob Pelinka now toward his other choice, Tyronn Lue.