Phoenix Suns part ways with Monty Williams after four seasons
Report: Phoenix Suns part ways with Monty Williams after four seasons originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago
Monty Williams’ time as head coach of the Phoenix Suns has come to an end after four seasons.
The franchise fired their two-time NBA Coach of the Year on Saturday, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.
This news comes two days after the Suns were eliminated from the postseason in the second round following a 25-point Game 6 loss to the Denver Nuggets.
Wojnarowski also reported that this decision was made directly by team owner Matt Ishbia, who purchased the franchise back in February.
Williams took over as head coach of the Suns in 2019, having previously served as head coach of the New Orleans Pelicans from 2010 to 2015. He inherited a promising, but inexperienced roster headlined by Devin Booker and Deandre Ayton.
Within Williams’ first season at the helm, the Suns posted their best record in five years. His breakout moment, however, came the following season when he led Phoenix to the 2021 NBA Finals.
The Suns looked poised to win the franchise’s first every NBA Championship after taking a 2-0 lead, but the Milwaukee Bucks stormed back to win four straight games and claim the title in six.
Phoenix followed up that runner-up season with a 64-18 campaign, eight more wins than any other team in the league. That dominance fell flat in the postseason, where they were upset in the second round by the Dallas Mavericks, losing Game 7 by 33 points at home.
Williams was rewarded with back-to-back NBA Coach of the Year honors in 2021 and 2022.
The Suns started out this season in similar form, holding a top spot in the Western Conference through November. They then proceeded to lose 18 of their next 24 games, dropping out of the playoff picture entirely. That losing streak was only excerbated midway through when Booker suffered a groin injury and missed 21 games.
Despite the mid-season struggles, the Suns immediately reentered the playoff conversation when they completed a blockbuster trade for Kevin Durant, signaling a win-now mentality by Ishbia who had only officially joined the organization days prior. They continued to incur injuries throughout their starting lineup but still won seven of their last nine games and finished fourth in the Western Conference.
Williams is the league’s winningest coach over the past three seasons.
Williams now joins a unempoyment pool of accomplished former coaches. This includes Nick Nurse, who won an NBA championship with the Tornoto Raptors in 2019, and Mike Budenholzer, who was in charge of the Bucks when they beat the Suns for the title in 2021.
Similarly, Phoenix is now competing with Toronto, Milwaukee and Detroit to fill their coaching vacancy.