Detroit Pistons snag Monty Williams after taking second swing at former Phoenix Suns head coach

new balance


Monty Williams admitted being unsure about what was next after the Phoenix Suns fired him.

Then the Detroit Pistons changed his present and future.

They officially named Williams their next head coach Friday as he agreed to a six-year deal for $78.5 million.

“A week ago, I was not sure what the future would hold,” Williams said in a team news release Friday. “But, after talking with Tom and Troy, I was excited hearing their vision for the Pistons going forward. They had a thoughtful plan and I am so appreciative of the emphasis they placed on the personal side of this business. They showed tremendous consideration for me and my family throughout this process.”

Williams became the highest-paid coach in NBA history.

Phoenix Suns head coach Monty Williams directs his players against the Sacramento Kings during the second quarter at Footprint Center in Phoenix on Feb. 14, 2023.

Phoenix Suns head coach Monty Williams directs his players against the Sacramento Kings during the second quarter at Footprint Center in Phoenix on Feb. 14, 2023.

“They also showed a commitment to success and doing things the right way,” he continued in the team news release. “As we discussed the team and expressed our collective goals, I realized that this would be a great opportunity for me to help a talented young team and build a strong culture here in Detroit. This is obviously a special place with a deep basketball history, and my family and I are looking forward to the opportunity to be a part of this city and organization.”

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The Pistons will have Williams’ introductory press conference next week.

“I was able to spend some time with Monty and members of his family, and it was clear that he’s not only a great coach and leader, but a man of great character who shares our goal to be impactful on and off the court,” Pistons team owner Tom Gores said in the team news release.

Pistons general manager Tony Weaver and Gores led conversations with Williams last weekend as he signed the contract Thursday, the team announced.

From left, Detroit Pistons general manager Troy Weaver laughs while listening to owner Tom Gores during a news conference introducing the team's draft class July 30, 2021 at the Pistons Performance Center in Detroit.

From left, Detroit Pistons general manager Troy Weaver laughs while listening to owner Tom Gores during a news conference introducing the team’s draft class July 30, 2021 at the Pistons Performance Center in Detroit.

“I couldn’t be more proud to have Monty joining us at this important time to lead us into the next decade of our future,” Gores said in a team news release. “He embodies all of the qualities we want in a leader for our Pistons franchise, and most importantly a teacher and mentor for our players. He will have an impact on every aspect of our franchise, on and off the court.”

The Pistons are coming off their second-worst season in franchise history at 17-65.

“After spending some time with Monty, it’s clear that he’s found a unique balance between achieving victory at the highest level while at the same time nurturing a culture of growth, development and inspiration,” Gores continued in a statement. “I’m beyond excited. This is a huge win for us.”

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Williams compiled a 194-115 record in his four seasons in Phoenix, which had its second-worst season in franchise at 19-63 the year before he got there. He coached the Suns to the 2021 NBA Finals and the NBA’s best record the next season at a franchise-best 64-18 in winning NBA Coach of the Year.

The top-seeded Suns ended their historic season with a 33-point loss in Game 7 of the Western Conference semifinals against Dallas. They made a third straight trip to the playoffs under Williams this season, but once again bowed out in the conference semifinals, losing Game 6 to No. 1-seeded Denver by 25 points at home.

Phoenix Suns head coach Monty Williams reacts during action against the Los Angeles Lakers in the second half at Footprint Center on Nov. 22, 2022.

Phoenix Suns head coach Monty Williams reacts during action against the Los Angeles Lakers in the second half at Footprint Center on Nov. 22, 2022.

Williams had initially thought about taking a off a year from coaching as had three years remaining in his contract in Phoenix for $21 million. The Suns signed him to a multiyear extension last year.

The Pistons took another crack at Williams and convinced him to continue his coaching career in Detroit.

“Monty represented the ideal prototype for our young team, but we didn’t expect him to be available,” Weaver said in a team news release. “When he suddenly became available, we jumped at the opportunity to speak with him. That doesn’t mean the others in our process were not strong candidates. They were. But Monty is the prototype.”

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This will be Williams’ third head coaching opportunity as he started his head coaching career in New Orleans in 2010. Williams went 173-221 in five seasons in New Orleans.

“When we set out on this search, we wanted a leader focused on discipline, defense and development,” Weaver continued in a team news release. “His capability, his experience and his philosophy checks all those boxes. He has high character and high conviction. He will be a great leader and mentor for our young core, and given his career as a player, he’ll connect with our veteran players as well.”

Detroit Pistons coach Dwane Casey applauds during the first half against the Indiana Pacers at Gainbridge Fieldhouse in Indianapolis on Friday, April 7, 2023.

Detroit Pistons coach Dwane Casey applauds during the first half against the Indiana Pacers at Gainbridge Fieldhouse in Indianapolis on Friday, April 7, 2023.

Williams replaced Dwane Casey, who was part of Detroit’s rebuilding process. Now working in the team’s front office, Casey coached five seasons in Detroit, going 121-263.

The Pistons made the playoffs in Casey’s first season, but failed to do so the next four.

“(Casey) helped set the table and guided the early development of our young core,” Goree said in the team’s news release. “We now have a talented young team ready to step up to the next level, and I have committed to providing every resource possible to maximize their potential,” Gores added. “We are investing in Monty, and he is investing in us. We’re excited to have him.”

Have opinion about current state of the Suns? Reach Suns Insider Duane Rankin at [email protected] or contact him at 480-787-1240. Follow him on Twitter at @DuaneRankin.

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This article originally appeared on Arizona Republic: Official: Detroit Pistons name Monty Williams head coach



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