Former Pelicans coach and current Thunder assistant coach Monty Williams is among the names in contention for the freshly opened Nets vacancy, as NetsDaily has been told (Twitter link). Much of the attention has surrounded long-ago Nets coach John Calipari, but he reportedly wants a dual coach/executive role, and Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov said in a press conference today that he’d prefer to have a separate coach and GM. Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPNNewYork.com heard that the Nets could consider St. John’s coach Chris Mullin, but it’s unclear whether his source was merely speculating.
Williams has quickly built a strong bond with soon-to-be free agent Kevin Durant since joining the Thunder staff in the offseason, which certainly won’t hurt the coach’s candidacy for any NBA vacancy. He’s also close with Anthony Davis, his former Pelicans player, but Davis just signed a five-year extension with New Orleans this past summer, shortly after the team canned Williams.
New Orleans experienced an 11-win improvement last year in its final season under Williams, going 45-37 and grabbing the final playoff spot in the Western Conference before falling to the Warriors in a first-round sweep. It was the first time New Orleans had gone to the playoffs since the 2010/11 season, Williams’ first year as coach, when the then-Hornets lost in six games to the Lakers. The New Orleans job is his only NBA head coaching gig to date, though he spent five seasons as a Trail Blazers assistant before he took it, and he’s also served as an assistant coach for Team USA.
Do you think Williams would make sense for the Nets? Leave a comment to share your thoughts.